I had coffee this afternoon with a colleague in ministry. This is a guy who has a long history in labor organizing and fighting for change. He is engaged and smart. I wanted to know what he thought about the things we are doing toward ending poverty in Maine.
While he wanted to offer me answers, I’m really glad that he didn’t have any. I needed someone to share in my frustration. I needed someone else to struggle with me about how much more we need to do. I serve a church that does wonderful things in the community. I think it’s great that we are feeding people and helping them to get out of crisis situations but it really bothers me that we can’t have the other conversation about why this happens. It bothers me that church members — who believe in impossible things with their God — suddenly turn off that switch when it comes to poverty issues. Maybe it’s my own frustration as the United Church of Christ engages in eleven powerful days to end poverty. Maybe I’m still trying to figure out how to energize the energy in the congregation after the mission trip this past summer. Maybe I’ve lost my own sense of imagination.
I kinda don’t think that’s true. This week, I wrote a sermon that flowed out of me. I wrote it in one sitting. It came just like that. That never happens. But I know why. I know it’s because this is my passion. This is what really breaks my heart open. I want to talk about how we’ll end poverty in our time. I don’t think it’ll be easy or instant. I know it will take every ounce of our energy, but I think it’s what we should be doing. I think it’s what Jesus calls us toward. And it’s personal. This is what I’m trying to decide right now. After sitting on a call this week regarding with Faith Advocates for Jobs, I’m wondering if I bring this concern to the Mission & Outreach Team tonight. I’m wondering if I tell them how much this is breaking my heart. I’m wondering if I challenge them to think creatively about how we support both workers and the unemployed especially when these are not members of our own community. They are out there somewhere but they don’t wander into our Sunday worship. It’s my passion but can I make it theirs? Can I reveal to them how scared I am about the insecurity my friends are facing? Can I expose my anger that the faith community is not setting up some support for the occupation in our city? Can I admit that I feel just as powerless as they do? Can I tell them honestly that I need their help? Can I confess that I need them to restore my hope?