Monday, March 28, 2016

Lenten Journeys

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Mary Oliver

Greetings from Detroit, the day after Easter, or as those of us working in church ministry call it: The Holy Week Hangover. The church hosted a Principalities and Powers Bible Study on Monday, a conversation on water shut-offs on World Water Day on Tuesday, our lectio divina community on Wednesday, a Good Friday and Stations of the Cross Walk on Friday, an Easter Vigil service on Saturday night (followed by a painful Jayhawk exit from the NCAA Tourney) and an Easter service on Sunday (followed by a pancake breakfast). Deep breath. And release. The weather is shifting (we survived another Midwest thunderstorm last night and 25 mph winds today) and Opening Day for the Tigers is 10 days away.

A couple of months ago, we launched a "Keep the Water Flowing" campaign, inviting communities of faith and conscience to donate money and gallons of water to support victims of water shut-off in Detroit. Currently, more than 50,000 homes do not have running water in Detroit. Many churches and non-profits have generously donated time, money and water to the Cause. The National Nurses United bus came rolling through the city just in time for the Michigan Primaries earlier in the month.

They interviewed Lindsay to get more info about the water struggle in the city.

Seventy-five seventh and eighth graders from University of Detroit Jesuit came by the church for a mid-week morning workshop on what is happening to water in Michigan. Tom connected the struggle to baptism (there's no conversion experience without going through the water!) and to the words of the incognito Jesus, "I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink."

Lindsay took them on a tour of our parish hall Peace and Justice Hive, where many justice-oriented organizations lease inexpensive office space. This month, documentarian Kate Levy moved into a little space to do editing work.

Lindsay and our friend Kim Redigan (a teacher at the school) ritualized the morning by blessing each junior higher with Detroit water:

On Good Friday, St. Peter's Episcopal and the local Catholic Worker House organized the 38th Annual Stations of the Cross walk through Detroit. We stopped at Quicken Loans headquarters, just about 5 blocks away from our church in a rapidly gentrifying part of the city. An excerpt from that station (focusing on the destructive effects of global capital):
In cities across the US and the globe, the creation of playgrounds for the rich where the long-time residents are not welcome, where cultural heritage and historic struggles of people of color are caricatured for marketing campaigns and then forgotten.

We met under this willow tree on the banks of the Detroit River, just a short, cold swim across to Canada. This station focused on the refugee crisis:
This is our future, people on the move, running from conflict zones and oppression. This is not the first time a reality like this has taken place in our history. These refugees have been stripped of all of their possessions, their family, their nationality, and even their dignity.

Lindsay read from the script at the federal building in downtown:
The people of Detroit are considered collateral damage as well by a nation that squanders money on “smart bombs” rather than on smart children who deserve good schools. Let us roll away the stone of disembodied language that obstructs the awful truth of war and speak in clear, bold language.

We've had a lot going on at the church! But, not to worry, we are committing to a weekly sabbath on Thursdays in Ypsilanti, a gritty little university town just 25 miles away. Here's Lindsay lounging on the grassy knoll steps away from the Huron River:

And here she is at our favorite supper stop, the Arbor Brewing Company:

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