thanks to Trey Morgan for the germination of this post.
i keep looking around my church gathering and i only see how homogenous we are. we're very white, very well educated, very middle class, and very much out of touch with the immediate community right around us. our church community meets in the middle of one of the poorest neighbourhoods in all of this wonderfully blessed land and yet ... we're ... out of touch with that.
a friend died over New Year's this year. E was wracked with addiction, and she seldom hung on to housing for more than a couple months at a time. she was visibly different than me because she was a visible minority and i am not but several times when i saw her (most of the time she sat in front of the grocery store with a hat in front of her) she made sure to tell me that she loved me. yes she had a massive crush on me but it was always flattering. she died when she tried to sleep one off in a bus shack during a -30 C cold snap.
she came into our worship space once and i happened to see her. i greeted her and welcomed her and i even told her that she was welcome to stay for our common meal time after the service. she didn't show up. as i sat in worship yesterday i thought of her because i had only just learned of her death two days prior. i thought of her when she came to visit our community.
are we welcoming to the other? are we scared of a face that is unlike our own? do we not say what we could say because she had a tattoo on her chin or her hair is neon blue and that's just so unlike the people i know?
Jesus stood in the synagogue and read from Isaiah saying "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19). all i could think about was, "but she's dead God, what am i supposed to do with that?". i didn't hear the homily yesterday as i grieved for E and prayed for the poor, the addicted, the oppressed, the prisoner, the blind and i prayed for me.
why don't we welcome the other? Jesus gravitated to the other, and i do not. not nearly enough anyway.
is this the year of the Lord's favour? she's dead and i don't know what i'm supposed to do with that.