Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Football, Flowers, and Fair Trade: A February Update


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Willing to Dream

On Monday, January 16 2012, a group of people from our neighborhood gathered together to share food and fellowship and to remember Martin Luther King Jr. and the movement for which he stood. Before eating together, we listened to part of Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

We sat and stood in silence, listening to Dr. King’s powerful words. We sat and stood together: young and old, black and white, male and female, student and teacher, parent and child, poor and well-off…

We listen, we remember, and we are inspired. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others involved in the civil rights movement were bold enough to dream and to do whatever they needed to do in order to achieve their dream. We are touched and we are inspired and we cry and we pray…but do we dream? So many of us fail to dream because we are afraid to fail. We dream of getting a stable job or finding a spouse or maybe even something crazy like learning to play a few chords on the guitar. We dream of things we know are attainable, we dream of things we know we can achieve.

But the slaves dreamt of freedom. The Israelites dreamt of the promised land. Civil rights activists dreamt of blacks and whites being treated as equals. The people who inspire us, the people we look up to as heroes and role models all have this in common: they allowed themselves to dream. They couldn’t help but dream. They dreamt not for themselves, but for the world.

Let us dream.

We have a dream for our community. We have a dream to not only share the occasional meal or conversation but to share our lives. We have a dream to want for each other what we want for ourselves and to fight for it. We have a dream of sharing each others’ burdens and living lives marked by radical generosity and hospitality.

There’s a woman who lives a few blocks away from us who is dedicated to picking up trash from the side of the road and putting up signs to discourage dumping. She fights to keep her neighborhood clean because she believes it is worth it. She believes that she and her neighbors deserve to live in an area that is clean, pleasant and safe. She has a dream to improve her community and the lives of those who reside there and she is fighting to make her dream a reality.

I have a friend who is a refugee and works harder than anyone I know to single-handedly provide for her five children. She has a dream to raise her family in safety, far from the wars and unrest of her home country. She has a dream for each child, to see them prosper and grow into their full potential. She lives in circumstances that could make the strongest man break down and weep and yet she brings joy to everyone she interacts with. Her laughter and hugs melt away the most disheartening thoughts or situations. She is able to laugh because she allows herself to dream, to have faith that the way things are right now is not the way things will always be.

The people I work with have a dream to end slavery. They have chosen not to turn a deaf ear or a blind eye but to be aware of the monstrosities present in our communities, cities and nations and to combat it with all the tools they have. They have a dream that all children can live in safety and attend school rather than be forced to work. They have a dream that women will be treated as humans rather than objects for pleasure and profit. They have a dream that consumers will rise up and demand products that are free of injustice. Each day they hear and read stories of slavery and oppression in our nation and around the world and each day they continue to pour themselves into the battle for justice.

Let us dream.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Newsletter


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking Forward

With the new year upon us, I decided to follow the age-old tradition of making resolutions. However, in the interest of saving myself from utter failure, I have made resolutions that I feel very strongly about keeping. Without further ado, Sarah's 2012 resolutions:

#1. Be awesome.

#2. Have awesome friends.

Done and done.

This year there is a lot I'm looking forward to. I love the way my life is falling into place! Therefore, here is Sarah's list of things she is excited for in 2012:

#1. HRRC internship: if you don't already know about this, please read my previous post. This is a fantastic opportunity to do something I love with purpose. Getting this internship was undoubtedly orchestrated by God and I am already seeing His provision for the coming months.

#2. Teaching art: two of my roommates work with a non-profit organization in our neighborhood. One of their programs is a backyard bible club for neighborhood kids. In the spring, they're hoping to add art to their curriculum and have asked me if I would be willing to help. I love kids! I love art! I love life!

#3. Relationships: I have the most amazing roommates, friends, family, and boyfriend I could hope for. I'm looking forward to continuing to deepen those relationships, opening myself to others and allowing them to open themselves to me.

#4. Dancing:....why not?

"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered..." (1 Chronicles 16:11-12, Psalm 104:4-5)

As we enter this new year, don't forget to remember. Remember what the Lord has done. Remember that he is faithful and unchanging.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Newsletter


Monday, May 30, 2011

A Kingdom Banquet

The other day a tire shop in our neighborhood was celebrating 70 years of business. We heard that they had a band playing and were providing food (we’d go almost anywhere for free food) so a few of us wandered over that way. A friend of ours who is homeless had been hanging out with us, so he headed over as well. Kate, Matt, and I walked inside and one of the men working there offered us sandwiches and drinks. We gladly accepted and took them back outside where we sat on the steps to eat. Our homeless friend went in after us. A few moments later he emerged, empty handed. I asked him, “Didn’t you say you were hungry?” He nodded slowly, his lips a tight line across his face. “They told me it was a closed party.” He laughed, a tired laugh, one resigned to this outcome, having seen the situation too many times before.
The realization of what had just taken place slowly washed over me and I felt emotions rising up inside me like the buildup of a tidal wave. My friend had just been refused a meal because someone had looked at him and judged him, deeming him unworthy to take part in their celebration. I didn’t know what to say. “I’m so sorry.” The laugh again. “Welcome to my world.” He walked away, sketchbook in hand, to draw the band that had started playing. I turned to Kate. “Should we say something to them?” She didn’t reply, her brow furrowed in contemplation. Our friend left after a couple short minutes.
Matt walked inside. When he came back out Kate and I asked him if he had said something. He nodded. He had asked them, “Isn’t this a community event?” They said yes. “Well,” he said, “I came in here and got some food and then a friend of mine came in after me and you turned him away.” They gave some excuse about not having a lot of food and wanting to save it for customers. Well, we’re not customers and never will be. We didn’t finish our food after that. I called our friend and told him that we hadn’t left the situation alone, that Matt had gone in and said something to them. I invited him to join us for dinner. At first he was noncommittal, but then he said, “Yes. Yes, I will come to dinner, because I still have my Mission Year friends. They still love me.” And we do. His rejection at the tire shop was like a knife in my gut.
I was upset by this episode the rest of the afternoon. As we walked through our neighborhood I thought of the passage in Luke where Jesus talks about giving a banquet.
“When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed…” (Luke 14:13-14)
I wished I could invite everyone to dinner. Anyone I saw who looked dirty or homeless or poor or sick. Anyone who might have been judged or turned away by the owners of the tire shop. I wanted to celebrate with them, to give them dignity and show them love.
Later, I read another passage:
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” (Proverbs 25:21)
Once again, I was convicted and aware of the bitterness and judgment in my own heart. I was angry at the people who had turned my friend away. They had become enemies to me. Yet we are commanded to love our enemies, a concept I have been wrestling with throughout this year. We are told to feed them when they are hungry, to give them water when they are thirsty. I began to picture a different kind of banquet – one that included not only the oppressed but the oppressors, not only our friends but our enemies. Jesus dined with the “sinners” and outsiders in society, but he also ate at the table of Pharisees, people who were watching and judging his every move. What does that look like for us?