September 23, 2021
See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
I’ve been thinking about what it feels like when we start down a path toward something new--be it an idea, a destination or dream. Sometimes we begin with a clear vision of where we’re headed; other times, all we know is that it’s time to take the first step toward what lies beyond our sight. In either case, deciding to start is an act of faithfulness, a willingness to trust that the Spirit of God is, indeed, doing something new.
From the vantage point of arrival or accomplishment, it’s easy for others to imagine that we had complete certainty when we first set out, or that the outcome was the logical conclusion of that first step. We know better. We rarely, if ever, felt that level of confidence, nor was the path as linear when we walked it as it seems to have been in retrospect.
If there is anything we’ve learned in the last two years, surely it is the art of improvisation. We’ve done so much experimenting and adapting. We’ve faced realities that we didn’t know were coming or had been there all along, but we didn’t see them until now. We’ve been tried, tested and stretched beyond what many of us thought was possible. More than once, we’ve been blown off course or forced to stop what we were doing in order to deal with yet another crisis. Many of us have grieved, and prayed, like never before.
We’ve also learned the importance of perseverance, not giving up on those God-inspired visions that got us moving in the first place. Yes, there have been setbacks, detours, and entirely new contexts in which to live our lives, do our work, and walk in Jesus’ way of love. But God is still God. We are still here. And while it doesn’t feel like much, there is something to be gained in taking one faithful step at a time toward the dreams God has placed on our hearts.
Last Saturday, clergy and lay leaders from 12 EDOW congregations gathered for the official start of a three-year journey toward greater vitality through the Tending Our Soil thriving congregations initiative. Looking ahead three years at a time when we don’t know how to plan for tomorrow is surely an expression of audacious hope, born of the conviction that our faith communities still have a place in God’s mission of reconciling love. Those of us who first dreamed of such an initiative three years ago are in awe that by grace and perseverance we have made it to this day. It was anything but inevitable when we began.
At a virtual gathering of Episcopal bishops this week, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry suggested that we were in what he called “a narthex moment.” The narthex, in Episcopal-speak, refers to that area in a church where people enter and exit. It is an apt metaphor, he said, for this time of uncertainty, “between the world we knew and whatever is being born.” Yet the picture he painted of what God might be doing now is, in fact, an ancient dream of a church “not formed in the ways of this world but formed in the ways of Jesus and his love.” Some aspects of the world being born resonate with our spiritual forebears’ vision of what it meant to follow Jesus; others are unique to our time.
Given the magnitude of suffering and uncertainty we face each day, persevering in hope can be a challenging spiritual practice. More than once, I have succumbed to despair and cynicism. But then days like Saturday happen, when I feel the power of God’s steady inspiration and the fruits of small, faithful steps over time. I’ve experienced similar moments in our labors for justice, and the work to build resources to help our people grow in faith and our leaders to lead well. They give me hope that our diocesan strategic plan--prayerfully discerned in the three years before COVID-19--can still be our guide even as we must adapt, sometimes daily, to new challenges.
Maybe we are always living in the tension between the world as we know it and the new world being born. I am persuaded that the seeds of new life have already been planted, for some have begun to sprout and grow. We’ve already begun the journey from where we are now to where God is calling us. Today, and every day, our task is to take the next faithful step.
September 23, 2021
Fíjense en que yo hago algo nuevo, que pronto saldrá a la luz. ¿Acaso no lo saben? Volveré a abrir un camino en el desierto, y haré que corran ríos en el páramo.
He estado pensando en lo que se siente cuando empezamos por un camino hacia algo nuevo, ya sea una idea, un destino o un sueño. A veces comenzamos con una visión clara de hacia dónde nos dirigimos; otras veces, todo lo que sabemos es que es hora de dar el primer paso hacia lo que está más allá de nuestra vista. En cualquier caso, decidir comenzar es un acto de fidelidad, una voluntad de confiar en que el Espíritu de Dios está, de hecho, haciendo algo nuevo.
Desde el punto de vista de la llegada o el logro, es fácil para otros imaginar que teníamos una certeza completa cuando nos fijamos por primera vez, o que el resultado era la conclusión lógica de ese primer paso. Lo sabemos mejor. Rara vez, si es alguna vez, sentimos ese nivel de confianza, ni el camino era tan lineal cuando lo recorrimos como parece haber sido en retrospectiva.
Si hay algo que hemos aprendido en los últimos dos años, seguramente es el arte de la improvisación. Hemos hecho tanta experimentación y adaptación. Nos hemos enfrentado a realidades que no sabíamos que venían o que habían estado allí todo el tiempo, pero no las vimos hasta ahora. Hemos sido probados, probados y estirados más allá de lo que muchos de nosotros pensamos que era posible. Más de una vez, nos hemos desviado del rumbo o nos hemos visto forzados a detener lo que estábamos haciendo para enfrentar otra crisis. Muchos de nosotros hemos llorado y orado, como nunca antes.
También hemos aprendido la importancia de la perseverancia, sin renunciar a esas visiones inspiradas por Dios que nos han llevado a movernos en primer lugar. Sí, ha habido retrocesos, desvíos y contextos completamente nuevos en los que vivir nuestras vidas, hacer nuestro trabajo y caminar en el camino del amor de Jesús. Pero Dios sigue siendo Dios. Todavía estamos aquí. Y aunque no parece mucho, hay algo que ganar al dar un paso fiel a la vez hacia los sueños que Dios ha puesto en nuestros corazones.
El sábado pasado, el clero y los líderes laicos de 12 congregaciones de EDOW se reunieron para el inicio oficial de un viaje de tres años hacia una mayor vitalidad a través de la iniciativa Cuidando Nuestra Tierra promoviendo congregaciones prósperas. Mirar hacia delante tres años en un momento en que no sabemos cómo planear para el mañana es sin duda una expresión audaz de esperanza, nacida de la convicción que en nuestras comunidades de fe todavía tienen un lugar en la misión de Dios de reconciliar el amor. Aquellos de nosotros que soñamos por primera vez con tal iniciativa hace tres años, nos asombramos de que por gracia y perseverancia lo hayamos hecho hasta hoy. Era algo menos inevitable cuando empezamos.
En una reunión virtual de obispos episcopales esta semana, el obispo presidente Michael Curry sugirió que estábamos en lo que él llamó “un momento nártex”. El nártex, en habla episcopal, se refiere a esa área en una iglesia donde la gente entra y sale. Es una metáfora adecuada, dijo, para este tiempo de incertidumbre, “entre el mundo que conocíamos y el que está naciendo”. Sin embargo, la imagen que pintó de lo que Dios podría estar haciendo ahora es, de hecho, es un antiguo sueño de una iglesia “no formada en los caminos de este mundo sino formada en los caminos de Jesús y su amor”. Algunos aspectos del mundo que nace resuenan con la visión de nuestros antepasados espirituales de lo que significaba seguir a Jesús; otros son únicos de nuestro tiempo.
Dada la magnitud del sufrimiento y la incertidumbre que enfrentamos cada día, perseverar en la esperanza puede ser una práctica espiritual desafiante. Más de una vez, he sucumbido a la desesperación y al cinismo. Pero luego pasan días como el sábado pasado, cuando siento el poder de la inspiración constante de Dios y los frutos de pequeños y fieles pasos con el tiempo. He vivido momentos similares en nuestro trabajo por la justicia, y el trabajo para construir recursos para ayudar a nuestro pueblo a crecer en fe y a nuestros líderes a liderar bien. Me dan la esperanza de que nuestro plan estratégico diocesano, discernido en oración en los tres años anteriores a COVID-19, todavía puede ser nuestra guía, incluso cuando debemos adaptarnos, a veces diariamente, a los nuevos desafíos.
Tal vez siempre estamos viviendo en la tensión entre el mundo como lo conocemos y el nuevo mundo que nace. Estoy convencida de que las semillas de la nueva vida ya han sido plantadas, ya que algunos han comenzado a brotar y crecer. Ya hemos comenzado el viaje: desde donde estamos ahora, hasta donde Dios nos está llamando. Hoy, y todos los días, nuestra tarea es dar el siguiente paso fiel.
August 29, 2021
Bishop Mariann preaching on The Gospel of Your Life at Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, August 29
When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines. You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
The title of this sermon is “Discovering the Gospel of Your Life.”
Throughout I will be posing a number of open-ended questions, each of which are invitations into an intentional exploration of your life and your faith that you can always do on your own, or you can take part in one of two offerings this fall through the Diocese of Washington’s School for Christian Faith and Leadership. One of the offerings is a six-session series called Discover, designed for a small group or entire congregation to take together; the other, called Explore, is a self-guided, online course. Information about both is on the School for Christian Faith and Leadership website.
I make this invitation well aware that -- amid all that your life demands of you, how busy you are, the challenges you face, and the enormity of suffering we see all around us (and this was a particularly difficult week) -- personal faith exploration can seem like a luxury that you simply don’t have time for. If that’s true for you, I understand. Yet questions of faith and self-awareness, while not always urgent, keep coming back to us. They are the questions, as the poet David Whyte suggests,“that have no right to go away, for they have to do with the person we are about to become; they are conversations that will happen with or without our conscious participation.”1 They are the questions that determine what kind of person we will wake up to be tomorrow.
Let me clarify what I mean by “Discovering the Gospel of Your Life,” word by word, starting with the first.
When we discover something, it's helpful to remember that nothing has changed in the material world. What changes is our awareness of something whose existence had been there all along. In most cases, what we discover others have long known about -- a common observation among the people whose ancestors were in the Americas centuries, if not millennia, before Europeans discovered what was for them a New World. In our personal lives, what we discover about ourselves is generally not news to those around us, which is why increasing our self-awareness always involves allowing others to tell us what they see in us that we cannot.
One of my favorite examples of this is an exchange between two characters of a movie that came out about twenty years ago entitled The Legend of Bagger Vance. Matt Damon plays Rannulph Junnah, a professional golfer in the early 20th-century, who is attempting a comeback after his life hit rock bottom as a result of what he experienced in the trenches of World War I. Will Smith portrays Bagger Vance, a mysterious man who befriends Junnah when he was all but lost to alcohol and despair and slowly helps him heal, while serving as Junnah’s golf caddie and coach. In one scene, Junnah is playing in an important golf tournament, and he is way off his game. He turns to Bagger Vance and says, “This is getting embarrassing.” “Oh no sir,” Bagger Vance replies, “It has been embarrassing for some time now.”
It’s good for us to have truth-tellers like this, especially when the truth is hard to hear.
While what we discover about ourselves is sometimes embarrassing or even shameful, at other times the discovery is unexpectedly affirming of the good in us that we can’t see or tend to minimize. When others name our goodness, it can feel like a revelation to us, a new discovery. Conversely, one of the easiest ways for us to bless those around us is to take the time to point out their goodness. For they may not see it, or allow themselves to accept and live more deeply from that part of who they are.
So first question: what do you suppose that others see in you that you don’t? And what might change for you as a result of your knowing what others know about you?
There is a lot of energy being expended in our country now -- and in our churches -- to better understand aspects of our history, specifically the roots of the persistent, pervasive racial inequities in our society; and there is an equal amount of energy being expended actively trying not to know these things, or teach them to our children. There are implications in what we, as individuals and a society, choose to know or not know about who we are. But the process of discovery only affects our awareness of what’s true about us. The truth exists, whether we choose to know it or not.
Now let’s skip over to consider the last two words of this sermon’s title: your life.
The parts of your life that I’d like to focus on are these: first, the arc of your life story and where you see yourself on that arc; second, the recurring patterns and stories through which you interpret your life; and lastly, the aspects of your life that you cherish most -- what you love about being you.
Starting with the arc: Picture in your mind’s eye the image that shows up when you're on an airplane, telling you where you are in relation to your final destination. Imagine that arc represents your life. Where are you on that arc in any given part of your life? Are you at the beginning, in the middle, or near the end? Having some sense of that puts a lot of other things in perspective.
Years ago, after dropping one of our sons off at college in Chicago, I gave the slightly older son of a co-worker a ride from Madison, Wisconsin back to Minneapolis. It’s a four-hour drive, so we had time to talk, and I asked him about his life. He had graduated from college a few years earlier, and admittedly, he was struggling, as is common in young adulthood, with loneliness and vocational drift. At one point he said, a bit tongue-in-cheek, “I think I’m having my quarter-life crisis.” He expected me, as someone nearly twice his age, to smile at this, and I did, but I could tell that his struggle was real. I was also struck by his awareness of where he was in life--at the end of the first quarter. As in a football game, there is a lot of life ahead at the end of the first quarter, and he knew that. He also knew that the clock was ticking and that he wasn't an under-grad any longer, with professors and parents telling him what to do next. It was time to make some important decisions, and they were his to make.
No matter where we think we are on our life’s arc -- and of course we don’t really know -- we don’t have time to waste, do we? I’m reminded of a story Anne Lamott tells of going shopping for clothes with her friend Pam, who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time. When Anne asked Pam if the dress she’s tried on made her hips look too big, Pam slowly replied from her wheelchair, “Annie, I don’t think you have that kind of time.”2 No matter where we are on our life’s arc, some things are worth pursuing and some are not.
The second aspect of your life that I invite you to consider are the recurring patterns that you have come to recognize as part of your life story. Think, for example, of when in casual conversation you hear yourself say, “Well, that’s the story of my life” to describe certain things that always seem to happen to you. In my case, for example, why it is that whenever I choose a check-out line in a grocery store, I always seem to wind up in the slowest one? Or when I have a biking accident, as I did last week, why is it always my fault and when I’m within walking distance to my destination? I need to discover the answer to that question before I get back on my bike!
Incidentally, our younger son, Patrick, like his mom, was accident-prone as a kid, to put it mildly. But some of his accidents truly defied explanation. They were so bizarre that by the time he reached high school, his friends began to refer to them as PRIs, or Patrick Related Incidents, which to this day is what everyone in his life calls the mishaps that seem to find him.
So what are the patterns of your life? Are you the person who never wins at anything, or do you always win? Do you make friends easily, or does it take a long time? Would you say that you are a glass half-empty kind of person, or a glass half-full? And what would others say?
While some of these patterns are relatively harmless and tend to be exaggerated, others are quite powerful and have real implications for how we experience and interpret our lives. Once a pattern is ingrained and the story is set in our minds, it takes considerable effort to change it, even if the data supporting it is suspect, or when what was once true about us isn’t anymore. The desire to make a change in a life pattern is often a sign that change is coming, perhaps because we’re tired of a given storyline that doesn’t fit us anymore. Or it could be that the Spirit of God is beginning something new.
The third aspect of your life that I invite you to consider is what you love best about being you -- what you love to do, the things that cause you to lose track of time, the people who make your hearts sing, the places that speak to you of home, or adventure, or joy. Another way to identify this part of your life is the deep sense of purpose you feel when you’re doing what truly matters to you, the fulfillment and satisfaction of knowing that the gifts God has given you are being put to their use -- even when, or perhaps especially when, the effort involved requires real sacrifice on your part. (This morning’s Washington Post tells the story of Nicole Gee, age 23, one of the 13 Marines killed at the Kabul airport this week. A few days before she died, she had posted a photo of herself on Instagram holding an infant of an Afghan refugee family. Her caption read, “I love my job.”) Your dreams show up here, what you hope for, what you really want for yourself and for others, so much so that you’d give up a lot of other things for that one pearl of great price.
That goodness in you, the part of you that you love, brings me now to the central word of this sermon title -- gospel. Derived from the Old English, god-spell, it’s root meaning is “good story,” translated from the Latin, evangelium and the Greek euangelion, also the root of our words evangelist and evangelical. Christians are those who come to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was born into this world “as good news of great joy for all people.”
The Bible contains four gospels of Jesus’ life, but what about the gospel of yours?
Part of your gospel is revealed in your innate goodness, your good story, the good news you bring to others simply being you. One of the first Christian theologians famously said that the glory of God is a human being fully alive.” “I have come that you might have life,” Jesus said, “and life in abundance.”
But another part of your life’s gospel may be, paradoxically, where you have experienced, or are experiencing now, your vulnerability, or life in its harshest terms. The good news isn’t in the sin or sorrow or pain, but in the good that can be wrenched out of it, or the ways that grace and goodness shows up for you when you least deserve it, or as you are walking through a long, lonesome valley. Even a fleeting moment of grace can carry you a long way, giving you just enough to keep going.
Do you have that kind of good news story to tell, I wonder? These are our resurrection stories -- not of dramatic rescue, but of new life rising from the ashes of what was lost. Sometimes we don’t even have that story to tell, but somehow it can be enough to allow ourselves to feel what we feel, with no need to pretend that it doesn’t hurt, and to experience something of love in the midst of the pain.
Nothing I have said thus far has been explicitly Christian. Intentionally so, because what I am attempting to describe is universal. What makes your life story, or mine, explicitly or intentionally Christian is when we find ourselves drawn to the story of Jesus, through which we come to interpret and go deeper into the meaning of our own. For a Christian, Jesus’ life becomes, in the words of a Christmas carol, our life’s pattern. His teachings inform our worldview. Jesus Related Incidents become our own. Admittedly, this takes time, and effort. This isn’t drifting or dabbling on the spiritual path; we’ve made a choice. But there’s mystery involved, because more often than not, it feels for most Christians as if He has chosen us. The invitation to follow comes from him, or as often, from the compelling example of another person who is a Jesus follower who inspires us and we seek to emulate.
I’m reminded here of something the late Archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Romero, is reported to have said to the priests under his charge: Your life may be the only gospel that the people will ever know. I’m fairly certain that what he meant, if, in fact, it was Romero who said it, is that when working among subsistence farmers, the priests in El Salvador needed not merely to preach the message of Jesus, but to embody it for those who might never be in a position to read about Jesus for themselves. St. Paul writes a similar exhortation in his letter to the Philippians: “Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27) Live, in other words, in such a way that people know who Jesus is by your example. This is the vocation of all who call ourselves Christian.
What I know about living the gospel, however, is that it is as much a revelation to me as it is to those around me. I don’t mean this abstractly, but in the most concrete terms. From time to time, a gospel story or teaching moves from something I’ve read and know in my mind to something else entirely. It takes up residence inside me and becomes, for a time, the lens through which I see and understand my life and through which I experience God. It becomes the gospel of my life.
I could give you any number of examples -- the stories of Jesus that have most shaped my life, but to demonstrate how the process of seeing our lives through his teaching works, let me simply point you back to the gospel text we just heard and that’s printed in your bulletin.
In the text, Jesus is having an argument with a group of people referred to as the Pharisees, who were among the most disciplined, rigorously observant Jews of Jesus’ day. The Pharisees are often Jesus’ sparring partners. He admired them for their diligence in religious practice, for Jesus himself was an observant Jew. But he differed with them, sharply at times, whenever he felt that their outward expressions of faith did not reflect an inner humility before God and compassion for their fellow human beings. Like the Jewish prophets before him, Jesus hated religious elitism and the hypocrisy of religious leaders who kept up the appearances of piety while failing to love God and neighbor, which is at the heart of the Torah. His invitation here is to a life of integrity -- of an inner life consistent with outward appearances. In the gospels there are numerous examples of Jesus related incidents demonstrating and teaching us the importance of “walking our talk.”
Discovering the gospel of your life is thus an invitation to go deeper into the mystery of your life’s story -- its arc, patterns, and essential goodness -- in conversation with Jesus’ story. Over time, the conversation frees you to become more fully you. For the change isn’t an external rearranging of your life’s circumstances, at least not a first. Consistent with how Jesus lived and taught, it is an internal experience of being given new eyes and ears with which to see and hear what’s all around you that’s been there all along.
So I end with where I began, inviting you to consider a few questions on your own or in conversation with others: Where are you in the arc of your life? What time is it, and what don’t you have time for anymore? What patterns and themes do you notice and are there any you are ready to change? What do you love most about who you are and when has love shown up for you when you needed it most?
And should you sense that Jesus is inviting you, for the first or the hundredth time, into a deeper conversation with him through the stories of his life and teachings, I hope that you accept it, so that his arc, his life patterns, his good news might inform and deepen your own. Then, through your life, others will see and know the love and mercy of God that has been with us all along.
May it be so. God bless you as you discover and wholeheartedly live the gospel of your life.
1 David Whyte, What Questions Should We Be Asking Ourselves.
2 Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anchor Books, 1995).
August 26, 2021
And who is my neighbor?
I write to you in a moment of crisis, when Afghan refugees are beginning to arrive in our region. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, will land at Dulles International Airport and Fort Lee in coming weeks. Some refugees will arrive with some financial support from the US government; others will arrive with nothing. All have lost everything.
In times like these I am reminded of something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said on the night before he died. He was reflecting on Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, in which, you recall, two religious leaders passed by a wounded man on the side of the road, while a despised foreigner stopped to help. King said that when the two religious leaders saw the wounded man, they asked, “If I stop to help, what will happen to me?” In contrast, the Samaritan asked, “If I don’t stop to help, what will happen to him?”
If we don’t help, what will happen to those fleeing Afghanistan? That question is causing people across the country and in our region to do whatever they can to advocate for and prepare to welcome those desperate to escape Taliban rule.
Several EDOW congregations have already begun organizing themselves to help in ways large and small. I am grateful for their efforts and encourage all who can to join them to do so.
There are several ways you can help.
In our region, the primary refugee resettlement agency is Lutheran Social Services National Capital Area. You can go directly to the LSS website to donate much-needed financial support or to volunteer.
If you’d like to join our diocesan efforts, you may contact Anne Derse, co-chair of a newly-established EDOW Afghan Refugee Response Team. Organized by our deacons, its mission is to work with LSS and others to match our desire to help with immediate refugee needs, such as shopping for clothes, helping furnish apartments, assisting families as they adjust to their new environment, all the way up to sponsoring a family for a year. The Response Team stands ready to help congregations interested in exploring refugee sponsorship.
Advocacy is also needed. The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations is monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and provides information and ways for us to advocate on behalf of those whose lives are in danger. You can sign up to receive Episcopal Public Policy Action Alerts for ways to effectively advocate for just and compassionate public policy.
We’ll have more information in the coming weeks. This is both a fast-moving crisis and one filled with chaos and confusion. Thank you for being among those willing to ask the compassionate, courageous question, and like the Samaritan, to step up to help those in need.
If you would like to learn more about the situation in Afghanistan, here are several resources:
- OGR/EMM Webinar Recording: Doing Well by Our Allies: An Overview and Recommendations for the Biden Administration’s Evacuation of Afghan Allies of the U.S. Armed Forces
- EPPN Action Alert on Resettling and Evacuating our Afghan Allies
- EMM: Support our Afghan Allies page
- Lutheran Social Services National Capital Area
August 26, 2021
¿Y quién es mi prójimo?
Les escribo en un momento de crisis, cuando refugiados afganos comienzan a arribar a nuestra región. Cientos, quizás miles, aterrizarán en los aeropuertos Dulles y Fort Lee en las próximas semanas. Algunos refugiados arribarán con alguna ayuda financiera del gobierno de los Estados Unidos, otros llegarán con nada. Todos lo han perdido todo.
En momentos como estos recuerdo algo que dijo el Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. la noche antes de morir. Él estaba reflexionando sobre la parábola de Jesús sobre el Buen Samaritano, en la cual, según recuerdo, dos líderes religiosos pasaron de largo dejando atrás a un hombre herido junto al camino, mientras que un extranjero odiado por el pueblo paró para ayudarlo. King dijo que cuando los dos líderes religiosos vieron al hombre herido, se preguntaron: “Si me detengo a ayudarlo, ¿qué me pasará a mí?” Por el contrario, el samaritano se preguntó: “Si no me detengo a ayudarlo, ¿qué le pasará a él?”.
Si no ayudamos, ¿qué sucederá con aquellos que han huído de Afganistán? Esa pregunta es lo que hace que personas en todo el país y en nuestra región estén haciendo todo lo que pueden para ayudar y preparar la bienvenida de aquellos que huyeron desesperados del poder talibán.
Muchas congregaciones en EDOW ya han comenzado a organizarse para ayudar. Estoy agradecida por sus esfuerzos y valentía, y por los que se han unido a este esfuerzo.
Hay varias formas en las que puedes ayudar.
En nuestra región, la principal agencia de reasentamiento de refugiados es el Servicio Social Nacional Luterano en el área de la capital. Puedes visitar directamente su LSS website para donar la muy necesaria ayuda financiera o para trabajar como voluntario.
Si quieres unirte a los esfuerzos diocesanos, puedes contactar a Anne Derse, co-presidenta del nuevo Equipo de Respuesta a Refugiados Afganos de EDOW. Organizado por nuestros diáconos, su misión es trabajar con el LSS y otros para conectarnos con quienes desean ayudar con necesidades inmediatas de los refugiados, comprando ropas, ayudando a amueblar apartamentos, ayudando a familias mientras se ajustan al nuevo lugar, hasta ayudando como sponsors a una familia por un año. El Equipo de Respuesta está listo para ayudar a congregaciones interesadas en explorar la posibilidad de ser sponsors de refugiados.
El trabajo de concientización es también necesario. La Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal está monitoreando la situación en Afganistán y provee información y formas en que podemos hacer el trabajo de concientización de parte de quienes tienen sus vidas en peligro. Puedes inscribirte para recibir alertas de Acción Política Pública Episcopal para demandar políticas públicas justas y compasivas.
Tendremos más información en las próximas semanas. Esta es una crisis activa y rodeada de caos y confusión. Gracias por estar entre quienes se hacen la pregunta compasiva y valiente, como el Samaritano, y se detiene para ayudar a los necesitados.
Si quieres saber más sobre la situación en Afganistán, aquí hay algunos recursos en idioma inglés:
- Webinar grabado OGR/EMM: Doing Well by Our Allies: An Overview and Recommendations for the Biden Administration’s Evacuation of Afghan Allies of the U.S. Armed Forces
- EPPN Action Alert sobre el reasentamiento y evacuación de nuestros aliados afganos
- EMM: Support our Afghan Allies page
- Lutheran Social Services National Capital Area