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March 28, 2013

“It helps now and then, to step back and take a long view.  The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.”  Archbishop Oscar A. Romero

The Kingdom of God that Christ referenced was not a reference to the afterlife.  He was referring to the creation of community on Earth that mirrors God’s vision for us.   Although I agree with Archbishop Romero that the Kingdom is beyond our vision and take great comfort from his words, sometimes I can see the Kingdom.

Today was one of those days.  I accompanied Congressman Keith Ellison to Peace House. Peace House is a spiritual home for the homeless.  It was started by Sister Rose and other members of the Sisters of St. Joseph.  For 27 years it has been housed in a tiny building on Franklin Ave just East of 35W.  I have been trying to schedule a time for Keith to visit Peace House for the last couple of months.  We have had to reschedule a couple of times and ended up with today.  Today, which just happens to be Holy Thursday.  Holy Thursday is the day of the Last Supper the day Christ celebrated Passover.  It is often celebrated with the ritual of the washing of the feet. 

So here I am with Keith Ellison at Peace House.  The room is smaller than my living room probably 12 by 15.  There are 40 people there.  A mixture of volunteers and “clients”, many not obvious as to which group they belonged sat in a circle around a table that served as an altar.  The “program” included a reading from Rumi, a symbolic “washing of the feet”, passing of the bread and singing.  At one point someone stood and lit tea candles on the altar while people called out things or people they wanted everyone to pray for.  Everyone was equal in stature, intellect and contribution.  The mixture of race, class and gender was like a weave.  Like one of those my daughter brought back from Bolivia.

At this moment I wish I could write poetry.  I think that poetry is the only way to describe the divine.  But I can’t write poetry. So all I can say is that the moment when everyone there were asking for prayers the wonder of creation was present.  It was displayed in the differences and the similarities.  In the contrasts and likenesses. 

Then we sang “This Little Light of Mine”.  When we were asked if we were staying for dinner I didn’t give Keith time to be pulled by his schedule I just said yes.

He confessed after we left that his schedule had made him question coming and was so glad he was there. 

I have supported Peace House in small ways for years.  I have always dropped off my gifts for Christmas and left. I was afraid. I was probably afraid of this. Afterall confronting the Kingdom of God can sometime interfere with your schedule. I now know where I will be celebrating Holy Thursday next year. 

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way and opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.” Archbishop Romero.


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