Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Day of Memory : November 11th

I spoke this morning in the town of Vernouillet at an inter-religious ceremony commemorating November 11th, end official end of WW1.  The theme of "solidarity for peace" - quite a French theme and experience, and one that has been poignant for today.  It began with the moderator introducing me (I spoke with a Priest, Rabbi and Almost Imam [sounds like the beginning of a joke]) as the newbie and an American.  He began crying, expressing his gratitude for the Americans who came and died in Europe twice in 30 years for freedom.  Moving and unexpected.

I've been thinking about peace, solidarity and nonviolence - that's what I talked about.  I spoke of André and Magda Trocmé who helped saved thousands of Jewish refugees during WW2 by their leadership of a French Reformed Church parish in southern France, and unwavering faith commitment to the belief that it's impossible to love God if we don't love our neighbor in concrete actions.  They moved a large community of people to a place in which the notions of family and community were redefined by the teaching of Jesus.  Turns out she died in the village I was in, and was friends with several people who were present this morning.

I find myself wondering about the application of such Jesus-centered ethics in our life together within the church and as the church within the world.  Where do we lose that perspective?  Where do we cross the line of fear that leads to paralysis and racism?  I wonder in particular as I reflect upon the vote yesterday by the Presbytery of San Francisco to ordain Lisa Larges, a follower of Jesus who is also a lesbian.  [ARTICLES: Huffington Post,  Presbyterian Outlook ] [Relive the meeting on Twitter by searching the tag #sfpby].

I'm stuck with the prayer of Oscar Romero I discovered this past for thought in this day of remembrance so that we don't forget and commit the same mistakes as we go forward.

Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism.  Peace is generosity.
It is right and it is duty.
In it each one has a place in this beautiful family,
with the Epiphany brightens for us with God's light.

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