The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them."
On Monday, December 19, I sat down to the most recent episode of a show that I have been watching “religiously” for years: “60 minutes.” As I pushed the button of my remote I was reminded of the promos I saw on the NFL on CBS the previous day. I looked forward to the segment that appeared to be a choir singing to Pope Francis on his 80th birthday.
The segment I saw did not contain giddy choristers and a smiling pontiff in a white hat. This segment was about other men wearing white hats or more precisely; white helmets. These men were Syrians. They came together to excavate people buried alive in airstrikes the Syrian government is inflicting on its’ own people. The volunteers in white helmets rush to where the strike occurs looking for signs of life; an arm or a hand, the sound of breathing. They then begin to dig furiously in an effort to save the life lying in the rubble.
As I watched the television my pulse rose and my mind raced. I knew that I had to write about this and I had to do it soon. The question was when.
It is now Wednesday, December 21st: the deadline for today’s bulletin. I turn to the scripture readings we will hear proclaimed today and am distracted by a note:
Since 1967 the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God has been designated “World Day for Peace.”
I need to write about Syria, right now!
I try to read today’s first reading (see the quote above) through the eyes of a Syrian. I read Paul’s words to the Galatians and ask myself, “If Christ has made all heirs and adopted sons and daughters of God are not these Syrians equally blessed by the God of the Israelites?
I’m not saying that I am going to put on a white helmet and go to Syria.
However, I must do something today… and tomorrow I need to do something more …. and the next day something more….and when that’s done, something more.
I am also saying that we as a parish community will not be fully who God is calling us to be until we are a 100% missional church.
This is not a call to divert all our energy and resources to Syria.
I’m saying that St. Mary’s won’t be who God is calling us to be until each of us does something for God’s children somewhere… and tomorrow each of us does something more …. and the next day something more….and when that’s done, something more.
One thing we can all do right now is pray. I’ve included “Day of Peace” (#523) in today’s music. It is a simple and beautiful prayer for God’s children of all ages. It is a prayer for those living in Syria, Singapore or Centre Street. My prayer is that you will see and hear it through the eyes and ears of someone in need.
Looking forward to 2017 at St. Mary’s,
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the parish office if you’d like to be part of the Social Concerns mission.