Just a snippet of the nightly newscast. A phone call interrupted, so I caught only part of the feel good part tagged onto the news. It had something to do with a man learning he had a daughter. He thought he was alone in this world, until this news. Then with awestruck wonder exclaimed, “I have people!”
Belonging. That longing to belong is deep within us. Sometimes I’ve wondered, even with all our liabilities, maybe God made us because it wasn’t any fun even for God to be alone. To communicate with nature is good, but not good enough.
And speaking of nature, today is the first day I came to the garden alone. What?! Well, for more than two years I’ve joined The Garden Congregation for morning prayers with Dean Robert at the Canterbury Cathedral. I feel a deep loss. As someone said, “The Dean and Fletcher have been lock down saviors during the pandemic.” So I feel bereft at the loss of that connection. And, as a result, I miss the communal prayers, Biblical teaching. As well as, learning about art, music, books and the garden’s flora and fauna. I loved watching critters float, fly, waddle, snuffle, lap up milk or creep among that sacred place.
Yesterday, as I viewed tributes for Dean Robert coming from India, Illinois, Africa and Alabama, I realized, “I love these people.” Then add creatures like Winnie and Clemmie, Ducky and Darcy, Mr.Robin, Tiger and Lily who gave meaning to my mornings, as well. Daily visuals and words reminded me that all creatures great and small, all people dark skinned, or freckled are God’s creation, and people. My people.
Which is why I wept at another mass killing. This time at Tops grocery store in Buffalo. Last night’s news carried tributes accompanied by names and faces of men and women murdered as they shopped or helped others. Good people. The killer, a kid, bought the lie, ” black people are out to replace white folks.” Then, he bought a gun. Neither lies nor guns should be so accessible.
The editorial page of today’s Boston Globe showed three people kneeling and praying outside Tops. Two were black, one white. Prayer’s not the answer to everything but it’s an important beginning. Hands clasped in prayer don’t pull triggers. Heads bowed can’t take aim.
Remember those lines from the book of Ruth? They’re sometimes said or sung at weddings, oddly enough. Mine included.Two widows, Ruth and Naomi, her mother-in-law, represent two age groups, two different cultures. But when urged to stay with her own kind, Ruth says to Naomi, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you… YOUR PEOPLE WILL BE MY PEOPLE and your God my God.” ( from Ruth 1: 17,NIV)
Well, I no longer have the garden congregation, but I have you and a world of people out there who long to belong. Precious people. As long as we have breath, we can choose to be WE the people or to our peril feed the lies and create clubs and raise children with fresh ways to post online or through deadly deeds, “KEEP OUT!”
I prefer, “COME IN!”
There’s room at the table.
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