With warm regards, I greet you in this newsletter. For some, this is the first interaction we’ve had in some time. I do miss our face-to-face services. I miss our coffee hours and potlucks. I miss our laughter–the jabs we put to one another, the jokes, and the commonality with you all.
I hope you all are doing well, despite these difficult times. There are many things to be concerned about: our advocacy issues of racial, environmental, and economic justice, LGBTQ+ Rights, Immigrant justice, but adding to the intersectionality are health care, access, the spread of COVID 19, and the impending recession.
One of my favorite sayings–actually a curse: May you live in interesting times… This was adapted in 1923 from the 1836 English translations of Yaoqin of the Shen family, a 12 year old girl–a respected poet and artist–from the Ming Dynasty.
They hurried like frighten dogs,
They pressed like fish escaping the net
They bore all sorts of hardships
They prayed to heaven, earth, and their ancestors,
Let us not run into our enemies…
Truly, better be a dog in days of peace
Than a human in times of war!
Through the game of telephone that is translation over the centuries… it turned into ‘A curse to live in interesting times.’
These interesting times are the stuff that challenges our principles. This is the source that stories are told of. I am recalling Apollo 13… Flight Director Gene Kranz overhears two NASA directors discussing the low survival chances for the crippled spacecraft. “I know what the problems are, Henry,” one of them says. “This could be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced.”
“With all due respect, Sir,” Kranz intervenes, “I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”
I believe this. I hear the stories of hope and generosity: two themes ever present in my theology. People are connecting in more ways than ever. But, it takes the courage to do it. It takes the tenacity to overcome whatever might be preventing connection.
I hope that you reach out to others. Call old friends. Buy pizza delivery for EMS workers. Sew up some face masks. Help kids with their homework. Pick up trash and debris while hiking. Do something generous.
Peace and well being for all of you,
— Rev. Will
“True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. False charity constrains the
fearful and subdued, the “rejects of life,” to extend their trembling hands. True generosity lies in striving so that these hands–
whether of individuals or entire peoples–need be extended less and less in supplication, so that more and more they become
human hands which work and, working, transform the world.”
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed