Archive for the ‘12th Sunday’ Category

Armed only with his Black Skin 6-25-2023

Tuesday, June 13th, 2023

He was living alone, while his wife was recovering at a rehab facility.
At 84, physically limited, he feared the world beyond the walls of his
small house in Kansas City, Missouri – and the social and political
divisions in his community and world only fueled his anxiety and
So little wonder when his doorbell rang that evening in April, he
reacted as he did. When he looked out his window, he did not see a
teenager who went to pick up his brothers. He did not see a young man
who had come to the wrong house (a common mistake in that
neighborhood). He did not see an honors student who, at 5-8 and 140
pounds, was hardly a menacing figure.
He saw a Black man on his porch who he immediately thought was
trying to break in and assumed that he was in imminent danger.
And so, he shot twice, hitting the teenager in the head and arm.
“Don’t come around here!” he yelled, as the teen struggled to get away.
The shooting left the country as well as his Missouri community
The man’s grandson later told The Kansas City Star (April 20, 2023),
that his grandfather had been immersed in “a 24-hour news cycle of fear
and paranoia.” He believes his grandfather is not a racist – just 84 years
old, living by himself, retired…and afraid.
The April 13 shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yari reveals not just our
political divisions, but our fear of what and who we don’t know; ideas
that we imagine threaten our safe, protected bubble; cultures and
lifestyles that seem to call into question the values and verities we
learned growing up. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus tells his followers
again and again “fear no one,” “do not be afraid.” If we embrace Jesus’
spirit of compassion and Jesus’ vision of a world of peace and
reconciliation, we can move beyond the darkness of anger and
hatred….and fear. Jesus assures us that we have nothing to fear if our
souls are ever aware of the presence of God’s love in our lives and we
are resolved to manifest that love in the midst of every challenge and

Bethany House 6-20-2021

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

A parishioner, in her will, left her small house to the parish. The
property was adjacent to the church property.
The pastor and the parish council began to look at possibilities for
the property. A number of options were suggested: a religious education
center; a residence for the pastor, enabling the parish to sell the big, two-
thirds empty house he now lived in; tearing down the house to create a
memorial park or expand the church parking lot.
Then a group of the town’s residents asked to meet with the
council. They proposed that the house be used as a temporary shelter for
battered women, a safe place where women and their children could
escape an abusive husband and begin the process of rebuilding their
lives. The council listened politely and empathetically. Then the “buts”
started… It is important work, but the house would be empty most of
the time. Do we want to get involved in these family situations? Can we really make a difference here? What about the liability, the
safety of parishioners who work on this, potential damage to the
A member of the parish council said nothing during the barrage of
questions and concerns. Finally, she asked to speak. She told her own
story of being in an abusive relationship years before and that a house
like this and the group who maintained it had saved her life and her
daughter’s. She had never spoken about it before but felt she needed to
speak up now. This is more important than you know, she said quietly.
So, the little house became Bethany House, named after the home
of Martha and Mary and Lazarus, the friends of Jesus with whom he
often stayed. Members of the parish stepped forward to fix up the house
and furnish it. And it has been a safe place for families battered by the
winds of abuse and hardship.
In a storm of doubt and skepticism, the “sleeping” Jesus awakens
in the courage of a woman whose powerful story leads her parish to take
on a challenging but important ministry in their community.
We do not realize that the Gospel Jesus “sleeps” within our own “boats” he “awakens” during the most difficult and demanding storms we
encounter, enabling us to do what is right and just. Within each of us is
the grace of the “awakened” Jesus in today’s Gospel: the wisdom, the
patience, the courage to discern the presence of God amid the storms of
tension, fear, anxiety, and the injustice we experience. As Frederick
Buechner writes in his book Secrets of the Dark: “Christ sleeps in the
deepest selves of all of us, and whatever we do in whatever time we
have left, wherever we go, may we in whatever way we can call on
him as the fishermen did in their boat to come awake within us and
to give us courage, to give us hope, to show us, each one, our way.
May he be with us especially when the winds go mad and the waves
run wild, as they will for all of us before we’re done, so that even in
their midst we may find peace, find Him.”