Thought for the Week
Two of my favorite spiritual writers died this week.
Jean Vanier has been a model of hospitality for so many – one of those rare individuals who managed to make real his commitment to the dignity of every person. Vanier was the founder of L’Arche, a movement that created communities where those with intellectual disabilities and those without lived together and learned from each other.
Profound simplicity was a phrase used to describe Vanier’s writings and that description rings so true. There are many to choose from –give yourself a gift and pick up one of my personal favorites: An Ark for the Poor (a great introduction to the L’Arche movement) or Community and Growth. A piece of his wisdom that resonates with me today comes from his text Be Not Afraid: “Our political and economic structures reflect our inner fears.” How can we look around our world right now and not see the truth in that?
I invite you to take a moment to reflect on the following words from the best tribute to Vanier I have read so far: Vanier’s L’Arche communities are places for the so-called weak to teach the self-perceived strong. His love for Christ overflowed into every relationship with abundant grace. To meet him was to love him, to be loved – and in turn to love all others he loved. Such a luminous goodness was combined with humor, wisdom and practicality. Rest in God, Jean . . . your memory will be a blessing and your witness will continue to inspire.
I’ll share a bit about Rachel Held Evans. For starters, if you’re not familiar with Rachel’s work you can go to www.rachelheldevans.com. Scripture scholar, teacher, worker for justice, writer, theologian, mom, wife – and all before the age of 40. When I think of her impact on me, the first thing that comes to mind is what keeps me up at night. What do I mean by that? When truth is paired with a challenge to respond what we are left with is to figure out what our next step will be. Unfortunately for me, that figuring frequently happens when I ought to be sleeping. Rachel was a master at ferreting out the truth amidst a culture that will often lie to us.
Consider this thought: There’s just no denying that the very things for which Israel was condemned by the prophets—gross income inequality, mistreatment of immigrants and refugees, carelessness toward life, the oppression of the poor and vulnerable, and the worship of money, sex, and violence—remain potent, prevalent sins in our culture.These sins are embedded in nearly every system of our society from education to law enforcement to entertainment to religion. We are all culpable, all responsible for working for change.
There are many, many ways to work for change. Among all those, what is MINE to do? I invite you (if you haven’t already) to get to know Rachel Held Evans. What is YOURS to do? I’ll leave you with a final thought from Rachel: What I love about the Bible is that the story isn’t over. There are still prophets in our midst. There are still dragons and beasts. It might not look like it, but the Resistance is winning. The light is breaking through.