Date: October 16, 2016
GENESIS 32: 22
31; LUKE 18:1
GRACE COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ASHEVILLE, NC
October 16, 2016
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, Pastor
by Wendell Berry
No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
ding over the grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
This week has been heavy
heavy with grief,
heavy with work, heav
y with feelings
of helplessness, heavy with lies, heavy with truths.
How long, O Lord, will Haiti suffer and
how many times will calamity strike her
How long, O Lord, will carnage rage in Aleppo?
And how long will violence
families, communities, nations, the world?
How long will women’s bodies be objects of conquest and vulgarity and hatred?
How long, O Lord, will people have to hide who they love to protect themselves from
violence, from rejection by their fam
ilies, from shaming by the very institutions that
claim to serve you?
How long, O Lord, will black and brown bodies carry the weight of our collective
fears and our collective greed and our collective unwillingness to heal the wounds of
Jacob wrestles with God all night long
Like a sleepless night
A troubled night when the weight of the world agitates and presses in.
That feeling inside when nothing seems right with the world.
Jacob struggles, Jacob wrestles, until God blesses h
He emerges blessed, limping, knowing, remembering.
Friends, faith is impossible without such wrestling, without such struggle.
And faith without compassion is no faith at all.
Compassion is being present, being awake, being real.
Compassion is not a passive reality. It is hard won. It is the fruit of struggle. It is the
gift of not succumbing to the things in life that could break us, that hold us captive to
distorted, contorted ways of being human.
why the caged bird sings
by Maya Angelou
A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to
claim the sky.
But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.