Our newly elected Bishop Paul Egensteiner is coming to visit Good Shepherd Church and wants to hear of the dreams and visions we cherish for our Southwest Brooklyn Conference. As we prepare to welcome him this coming Sunday the 10th. of November from 2pm to 4pm, we are reminded that we are connected in a single body of humanity that is global and mystical. It is a body across time and space. It is a great comfort to know that we are not alone and that we are not just a handful of people. In fact, we number in the thousands and we believe deeply in the power of the resurrection. You see, we are living in a time of unprecedented crisis on many fronts. The unleashing of violence against the most vulnerable among us is palpable as they continue to be victimized and portrayed as a problem we can simply dismiss.
How can we as a church, as God´s body on Earth, continue to witness and stand in solidarity with those who are vulnerable? How do we, as one body, acknowledge and utilize our power to be a resource to the larger community? I believe that if we are to fulfill our role and be relevant in our society today we must take a stand and become a beacon of light in this long dangerous night.
Please join us as we welcome Bishop Egensteiner and seek to become the answer to these questions and work to channel the power of the resurrection through the body of our global community. This invitation is open to all of us who are concerned with the wellbeing of our community at the Church of the Good Shepherd.
As we welcome the bishop, we will also train a host of people who will accompany some of our community members to court and legal proceedings as we prepare our space for the opening of the Saint Elizabeth Welcoming Immigrant Center.
Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz
Early one morning when I was a boy, my brothers, some cousins and I walked to the local river, close to my Aunt Luz's hut, out on the distant edges of our town in Mexico. As we were walking our excitement was palpable. There were sparks in our eyes and in our words. When we got to the narrow, trickling blue vein of crystalline water we jumped in immediately. None of us noticed the approaching storm. Soon though, the howling wind and the booming thunder alerted us. We all leapt from the water and ran to find shelter. As we felt the earth shaking and our fragile bodies trembling, we made our way to my aunt's hut, while the ferocity of the storm grew.
My aunt's hut was only a single room, made of tin and cardboard. The seven of us went in, giving sighs of relief. Suddenly, I felt the cold sweat running down my back as I saw the far wall being lifted up by the fierce winds. My aunt’s booming voice broke our paralyzing fear. She instructed us to take each other’s hands and stand close together as she pointed to the wall and told us to walk towards the wall and press our small, fragile bodies against it. We felt the wall return to its place. As we turned around, I saw we were all smiling from ear to ear and as we collectively gave a sigh of relief, we saw the opposite wall being lifted up by the wind. We did not wait for my aunt's voice, but instantly took each other's hands and walked, shoulder to shoulder, to the wall.
I don’t remember how long it took us to weather the storm. But I learned, for the first time, to walk with the wind. Needless to say, it’s best when you have a hand to hold.
More and more I am aware that our bodies are fragile and limited. We belong to institutional bodies, whose resources and authority, whether moral, political or economic, need to be managed for the wellbeing of all. We are living under an unprecedented time where power is being misused as a tool to victimize, persecute and blame those of us who are most vulnerable. It is time that we learn to walk with the wind, as we become the communities in which it is easier to do what is good than what is evil.
In our sacred texts, the God of our brother Jesus always defends the vulnerable and powerless. It is in God's compassion and justice that we are reminded of whom we are. This is a fundamental truth. Who we are is not determined by the place we were born, or the language we speak, or our gender or the creed we profess. It is fundamentally true that our humanity is the common thread to all created reality and that all humanity is sacred. Regardless of whatever or whoever threatens our humanity, we all need to stand together and put our bodies against the wall to keep everyone safe. This solidarity is needed for our institutional bodies as well as the collective bodies of our communities.
Let's keep learning to walk with the wind,
Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz