Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sanctuary in a Very Bad Week—A Chalice Lighting

Note—I was asked to do the Chalice lighting at the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry.  The topic for the morning was sanctuary.  After yesterday’s mass murder at another Tree of Life congregation, I threw away what I had carefully prepared.  I was planning on reading this new poem instead which is totally inadequate to the situation but due to a miscommunication the wonderful children and youth who participated in last night Camp Compassion sleep out for the homeless lit the chalice instead.  They also represented the true meaning of Sanctuary.  Anyway, I can share my meager effort here

Sanctuary in a Very Bad Week
Trump Attempts to Erase Transgender Identity
Two Blacks Killed at Walmart by Angry Racist
14 Bombs Sent to Targets Denounced by Trump
11 Dead at Tree of Life Synagogue Mass Murder

Sacred shelter—A haven offered or sought, 
   a holy obligation and a desperate resort.
The Church once offered it to those fleeing
   the wrath of a king or war lord.
Today we are called to offer it to
   immigrants and refugees,
      the homeless and unwanted,
            the despised of color, gender, faith,
               abused women and families,
                  all the wretched and despised.

Know this—Sanctuary can fail.
   Ask Thomas Becket, Ann Frank,
      the four little Girls of Birmingham,
            the frozen bum,
               the murdered wife,
                  the deported asylum seeker,
         the immigrant children in cages,
            the dead Jews of Tree of Life.

But failure does not cancel hope or duty.
   time to step up,
      to take our chances,
            to become a People of Sanctuary.

—Patrick Murfin

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