Oakland church

Archive for equality

Everyone has a Place at the Table

Lately, I hear myself thinking, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”, especially when I read some of the insights from the Poor People’s campaign, a revival of Dr King’s vision, from 50 years ago:  https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/demands/.  (The Justice and Witness Team shares this event – A Poor People’s Hearing – contact Nancy Taylor about going),

Did you know that while the U.S. economy has grown 18-fold in the past 50 years, wealth inequality has expanded, the costs of living have increased, and social programs have been restructured and cut dramatically?  It’s tempting to think that’s the way things are doomed to be. 

 I take comfort in our sacred scriptures that remind us of the way that God wants things to be,  and why God gave ancient Israel laws about how the poor are to be treated: “These rights and obligations are also rooted in the goodness and justice of the created order”.

Well, we look around, and things often don’t resemble that beautiful created order much at all. 

We are called to participate in the co-creation of a heavenly banquet, where everyone has a place at the table;  where everyone has a roof over their head, to live more fully, more intentionally, in the “already” part of “already but not yet” nature of the Reign of God.  “The shape of God’s future must shape our present.”

Here at Skyline, we’re involved in both charity and justice to bring good news to the poor.  To learn more, just click on our website: https://skylineucc.org/justice-witness/.

In a beautiful reflection on Jesus’s upside down kingdom, Frederick Buechner writes this:

“The world says, ‘Mind your own business,’

and Jesus says, ‘There is no such thing as your own business.’

The world says, ‘Follow the wisest course and be a success,’

and Jesus says, ‘Follow me and be crucified.’

The world says, ‘Drive carefully — the life you save may be your own’ —

and Jesus says, ‘Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’

The world says, ‘Law and order,’

and Jesus says, ‘Love.’

The world says, ‘Get’

and Jesus says, ‘Give.’ 

May it be so with us. Blessings upon your week, with love, Pastor Laurie 

“I Will Pour Out My Spirit Upon all Flesh”

I love this vision, written thousands of years ago: 

God declares, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh”.  

 All people… not just some. 

How radically inclusive these prophetic words from the book of Acts must have sounded, two thousand years ago, to explicitly include women, young people, and slaves in this vision. No limits to this inclusive vision! 

God continues, “All of them shall prophesy, with dreams and visions”. All of them…  

What are the dreams and visions that God is poured out upon you? What are the dreams and visions that you have yet to hear from?  

 Join us this Sunday as we share our God-inspired dreams and visions for our lives and for this faith community. 

I invite you to reflect upon these beautiful quotes: 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century
“Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century
“A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit. Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.”

L.J. Suenens, 20th century
“I believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit.”

Sandy Olson, Alternatives for Simple Living, 21st century
“I read a wonderful quote from the twelfth century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen that gave me pause. She described the Holy Spirit as ‘the Greening Power of God.’ Of course she did not intend that in the context that we might mean by ‘Greening’ something; that is, making it more environmentally friendly. She meant, I believe, that as plants are greened by water, sunlight, and soil, the human soul is ‘greened’ by the Holy Spirit’s presence in one’s life. Because of the Holy Spirit the human soul can ‘flower and bear good fruit.'”

 N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, 21st century
“Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”

Albert Camus, 20th century
“Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as quietly as doves. Perhaps, then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear amid the uproar of empires and nations a faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope.”