The Urgency of the Moment

“…Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment…

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…

“…and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
from the “I Have a Dream” speech

King’s words are still relevant today – and we are, again, living in a time when we need to recognize “the urgency of the moment.” Our nation is at a crossroads, isn’t it? All the slime and ooze hidden on the bottom of the pond has been stirred up and is coming to the surface – corruption, racism, bigotry, and greed are being exposed to the light. Now it’s up to us to decide, as a nation, what we’re going to do about it. The decisions we make now – the direction we choose to go – is going to determine our fate.  I’m thinking we should choose equality, freedom, and justice, right?

I keep hanging onto the memory of that night – the night of the election – when I saw a shooting star streak across the sky and the voice said, “Trust. Everything is happening as it needs to happen.” But the voice didn’t tell me what was to come would be easy, or that it wouldn’t involve some effort, time, sweat, tears, courage, and prayer…

trust

“Peals that should startle the slumbering thought from its erroneous dreams are partially unheeded; but the last trump has not sounded, or this would not be so. Marvels, calamities, and sin will much more abound as truth urges upon mortals its resisted claims; but the awful daring of sin destroys sin, and foreshadows the triumph of truth.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

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“…unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Years ago, when I was a teenager maybe, I remember seeing a Star Trek episode that showed a man who was half-black and half-white in a struggle with another man who was half-black and half-white – they were enemies because of their color – and I remember looking at them, thinking, “But… they’re BOTH half-black and half-white… what’s the issue here?” And at the end of the episode we finally see that the reason they’re enemies is because one of them is white on the right side of his body, and the other is white on the left side of his body, and… yeah… I remember thinking how absolutely ridiculous it all was for them to hate each other just because…

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What are your expectations of a U.S. President?

Here are some of my expectations of a President of the United States (in no particular order). I expect a President to –
1) – consider herself/himself a servant/employee rather than a master/ boss.
2) – be more concerned about the welfare of others than himself/herself.
3) – have the humility to work in the trenches alongside the poor, homeless, and disenfranchised.
4)  – value education and learning for himself/herself and others.
5)  – have a reputation for honesty and fairness with others.
6)  – respect the lives of the people he/she represents.
7)  – take the responsibilities of President seriously.
8)  – be committed to making the world a better place.
9)  – be able to carry on an even-tempered, rational dialogue with other leaders.
10)  – believe in global warming
11) – work to ensure the equal rights of ALL people of the US – regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, non-religion, or age.
12) – know how to laugh at herself/himself.

“I was a stranger, and ye took me in…”

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
– Mark 25: 35-40

***

Have I ever mentioned that I am the descendant of illegal immigrants? Yup. When my grandfather and his brother immigrated here from The Netherlands they were supposed to each have $20 in their pockets to get into the country. They only had one $20 bill between them – so when they passed through the line at Ellis Island the first one held up the $20 bill and then under-passed it to the one behind him who, in turn, held up the same bill. Those two hooligans should never have been allowed in this country. And, I shouldn’t really be here, either, I guess. Or half of me shouldn’t. Half of me should probably be shipped back to Amsterdam, home of my hooligan grampa.

That might be kind of messy, though. And I’m not sure how, exactly, they’d decide which half of me to send back.

My other half is descended from people who immigrated from a German colony along the Volga River in Russia. And also Basque reptile aliens. I’m pretty sure. (My mom has rh negative blood which – according to highly scientific research I googled :) – seems to indicate she has a Basque reptile alien somewhere in her background. Yeah. As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about this.)

We are all immigrants in the United States, aren’t we?  I mean, human life did not start here – everyone immigrated from somewhere else.  It’s believed the first immigrants crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia to Alaska and then worked their way down through North and South America. Then came the Vikings, Columbus, the Mayflower, the Dutch, Spanish, and French, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, slaves from Africa, the Irish and Chinese, the Japanese, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, refugees from southeast Asia, immigrants from India and the Middle East… and all of these immigrants – with the exception of those who were forced here on slave ships from Africa – have one very important thing in common: They came here in search of a better life.

Are the newest immigrants to our country really so much different than the first immigrants? The newest immigrants, too, are looking for a better life for themselves and their families – looking for work, education, religious and political freedom.

Why would any of us – descendants of immigrants ourselves – want to deny others the same opportunities we and our ancestors had?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
– Emma Lazarus

When the Traffic Lights Don’t Work (and we don’t have a leader)

The power was out yesterday and some of the traffic lights weren’t working. But something really cool happened: At each traffic light I witnessed people being courteous to each other, taking turns, allowing those cars stuck on side streets to come into the flow. At one point the driver of the car to the left of me stopped to allow a car on a side street to enter traffic. In order for the car on the side street to enter, I had to stop, too, though – we all had to work together to help the car on the side street get into the flow.  There was no one directing traffic – no one standing in the intersection telling us when to go. But somehow we managed to take care of each other. 

And that’s what America looks like to me right now, too. We don’t have anyone directing traffic. We don’t have a leader who’s trying to help the people on the side streets get into the flow. We don’t have a leader who’s telling us when to stop, and showing us how to take turns and behave ourselves. We’re having to do that for ourselves.

What an incredible opportunity to find out who we are as human beings.

This Is the Day that Joy Hath made

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

This is the day that joy hath made. Look for it. Spread it. May it over-flow from your hooligan hearts and fill up the dark, empty places in the streets and alleys, homes and work places, legislative and executive and judicial bodies of our world. May your integrity and honesty transform the scammers, schemers, scrooges, and skullduggerers. May your kindness and patience be a balm to those caught up in the frantic, frenetic, frenzied fabrications of the seasonal festivities. May you leave a smile, an unburdened heart, and hope in your wake. Go out there and work your magic!

This is the day that Love hath made. 
Amen.
Karen

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