Archive | February 2014

Mary, Mother of The People

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This is a beautiful South American Liberation Theological discussion of Mary, mother of Jesus that is from Truly Our Sister

by ElizabethJohnson in ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary’s Blog.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014-Brazilian Theologians Ivone Gebara and Maria Clara Bingemer

Offer Liberating View of Mary of Nazareth

Who Stands on the Margins

with the Oppressed

 Elizabeth Johnson  cites Brazilian Theologians
Ivone Gebara and Maria Clara Bingemer  
whose interpretation of the Marian doctrines of
the Immaculate Conception and
the Assumption provide a
“liberating impulse and can be made to work as allies in
the struggle for life.   
For the Immaculata venerated on our altars is the poor Mary of
Nazareth,
insignificant in the social structure of her time.
This Mother of the People bears within herself the confirmation
of God’s
preference for the humblest, the littlest, the most oppressed.
The so-called Marian privilege is really the privilege of the poor.
Similarly, believing in Mary’s Assumption means proclaiming
that the woman who gave birth in a stable among animals,
who shared a life of poverty, who stood at the foot of the cross
as the mother of the condemned has been exalted.
The Assumption is the glorious culmination of the
mystery of God’s preference for what is poor, small,
and unprotected in this world.
It sparks hope in the poor and those who stand in solidarity with them
‘that they will share in the final victory of the incarnate God.’
To understand these doctrines aright, we cannot forget that
they talk of God exalting a woman who lived in poverty and anonymity.
As Mary sang in the Magnificat, they reveal the ways of God
whose light shines on what is regarded as insignificant and marginal.”
Ivone Gebera and  Maria Clara Bingemer,
 Mary Mother of God, Mother of the Poor, 113,120-1
cited in Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister, p. 149

As we address issues of women’s empowerment in the church
and world including women priests, we can take heart that
Mary of Nazareth is our beloved sister and companion on the
journey toward justice rising up from the margins.
Yes, women are the face of God.
Our bodies are holy and we are called to stand around the altar
with our brothers and sisters and celebrate God’s extravagant
love for all at the Banquet Table.
The hierarchy cannot continue to discriminate against women
and blame God for it because God is on the side of the
marginalized and oppressed in our world and church.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
Pastor Judy Beaumont , ARCWP, presides at Easter liturgy with youth in Good Shepherd Community, Fort Myers, Florida

PBS FRONTLINE: SECRETS OF THE VATICAN-Pain and Hope

Frontline did an excellent job on reporting both the secrets that rocked the Vatican and the world and the difference that Pope Francis has begun to make !  We can only pray for Pope Francis’continued courage under serious threats from many sides and new courage regarding the “hot button” issues of women in the priesthood and married priests among others . This would be worth watching when it airs again or purchasing the DVD!                                               

FRONTLINE > Religion > Secrets of the Vatican >

Amid Vatican Disarray, Pope Francis Set A New Tone

February 25, 2014, 10:49 am ET by 

One year ago this week, Pope Benedict XVI did something that no other pope had done in nearly 600 years — he resigned the papacy.

It was a decision that sent shockwaves through the Vatican. Just eight years earlier, Benedict had promised a new beginning for the church at a time when it was reeling from the clergy sexual abuse crisis. But rather than stem the scandal, the crisis only grew.

Troubles spread to a second front in 2010 with allegations of money laundering at the Vatican bank. Then came VatiLeaks, a scandal that exposed a Vatican hierarchy plagued by cronyism, power struggles and bureaucratic corruption. For Benedict, it was a crippling blow to his authority.

Five weeks after Benedict’s resignation, white smoke from the Sistine Chapel signaled that the College of Cardinals had chosen his successor: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, known today as Pope Francis.

Among the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, it was clear Francis was inheriting a church in disarray, yet on the night of his selection he seemed to signal a new direction with just two words: buona serra or “good evening.”

“That was amazing,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said in the below excerpt from tonight’s FRONTLINE investigation, Secrets of the Vatican. “You can’t imagine the response of that huge crowd that was in St. Peter’s Square, because they expected a theological message, and they found somebody that is warm, that is near, that is one of us.”

Tonight’s film traces the shocking back story of how Benedict’s papacy collapsed and the extraordinary challenges ahead for Francis as he looks to reform the Vatican bureaucracy, stem corruption in the Holy See, and chart a new course for the church.

It appears big changes may be on the horizon. In April, Francis appointed eight influential cardinals to advise him on how to reform the structural problems facing church governance, and just yesterday he announced a sweeping set of reforms for the Vatican’s scandal-plagued financial system.

On broader matters of church teaching, he has shifted focus from divisive social issues such as homosexuality — famously asking “Who am I to judge?” in response to a question about gays in the church — and placed an emphasis on what he calls a global “economy of exclusion and inequality.”

The challenge ahead for Francis may be meeting the high expectations that have been set for him. As Barbie Latza Nadeau of The Daily Beast told FRONTLINE:

“One has to worry and wonder if he’s ever going to be able to live up to the legacy that he has already created. He’s already the best pope that anyone can remember.”

 

The Sentence and the Witness of Sr. Megan Rice 84 year Old Prophet

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  • Sr. Megan Rice with Michael Walli and Greg Bortje-Obed courtesy of Reuters
  • Sr. Megan Rice is a courageous prophetic witness in the spirit of the Prophetesses Miriam, 83 and Anna,84 at the time of their prophetic leadership. (Miriam in leading the Hebrew people to freedom with her brothers Moses and Aaron, and Anna in proclaiming that the infant Jesus would bring about the redemption of Jerusalem set strong examples for women and prophets of all ages.) Sister Megan did not plead for leniency for herself, though justice would demand this, she used the opportunity of her sentencing to witness to the horror of what the United States is becoming-“one huge bomb factory” with “tens trillions of dollars” over the last 70 years supporting nuclear armament with weapons of mass destruction at the expense of the poor and working people of this country and the world.  She also decries the conditions in prisons where she will serve her fellow inmates with compassion, wisdom and truth.   Sr. Megan, Greg and Michael are John the Baptist asking America to repent of the sin of greed and aggression-to transform NOW! We cannot fail to listen to their witness and reflect on our complicity with this sin as we face the Lenten season.
  • When the prisoners are settled we will have a way to write to them and send support.
  •   I turn to the Transform Now website to report the words of Sr. Megan.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP

Judge Sends Transform Now Plowshares Resisters to Prison

POSTED BY  ⋅ FEBRUARY 18, 2014 ⋅ 21 COMMENTS

Judge Amul R. Thapar passed sentence on Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice

and Michael Walli on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 in federal court in

Knoxville, Tennessee. The three were convicted in May 2013 for their

nonviolent action called Transform Now Plowshares at the Y12 Nuclear

Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on charges of depredation of

property and sabotage—the convictions carried possible maximum

sentences of 30 years in prison. Sentencing guidelines, based on

factors including history,  recommended sentences ranging from 6-10

years.

Sentencing began at 1:30pm; the three were permitted to be in the

courtroom together by Judge Thapar.

Michael Walli received a sentence of 62 months on each count, to be

served concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Greg Boertje-Obed received a sentence of 62 months on each count, to

be served concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Megan Rice received a sentence of 35 months on each count, to be

served concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised probation.

“Judge Thapar has tried to strike a compromise that reflects the

nature of this nonviolent action but satisfies the government’s

demand that Megan, Michael and Greg’s sentence send a deterrent

message to the wider community. For now, their bodies remain in

prison. But their voices are free, reminding us that the central

issue of this action and trial have not been resolved—as long as the

government continues to produce thermonuclear weapons of mass

destruction in Oak Ridge or anywhere, people are required to resist,”

said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental

Peace Alliance.

At the hearing, each of the Plowshares resisters spoke, reminding the

court of the central purpose of their action—to call the court’s

attention to the ongoing violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation

Treaty at the Y12 plant in Oak Ridge. In testimony at hearings

leading up to the trial, former Attorney General of the United States

Ramsey Clark called the production of nuclear weapons components at

Y12 “unlawful,” and the work there “a criminal enterprise.”

Megan, Michael and Greg entered Y12 in the wee hours of the morning

on July 28, 2012, cutting four fences and traversing a lethal-force-

authorized zone, arriving at the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials

Facility, the nation’s warehouse of weapons grade highly enriched

uranium. They poured blood on the walls of the HEUMF and spray

painted “Plowshares Please Isaiah,” and “The Fruit of Justice is

Peace.” They also chipped a corner of the concrete wall with a small

hammer, a symbolic act reflecting the Old Testament prophecy of

Isaiah who said, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.”

The statement issued at the time declared the United States in

violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and said Y12 was

chosen for the action because of plans for a multi-billion dollar

bomb plant to be built there—the Uranium Processing Facility. The

sole purpose of the UPF (pricetag now $19 billion) is to produce

thermonuclear cores for warheads and bombs. Y12 is an active weapons

production facility—workers today are performing Life Extension

Upgrades on the W76 warhead at Y12.

Supporters outside the courtroom said, “The United States is breaking

its own law when it builds bombs in Oak Ridge. Any goverment that

would lock up Megan, Michael and Greg is desperate to hide the truth.

By their actions, they have broken the silence; their sacrifice

challenges each of us to speak up for a safer world. In prison or

out, Michael, Greg and Megan will continue to pray and work to save

the life of the planet.”

Megan Rice’s allocution

POSTED BY  ⋅ FEBRUARY 21, 2014 ⋅ 3 COMMENTS

Here is the prepared statement Megan Rice read to the court on Tuesday, February 18, 2014:

PART I

 

            As I sat observing the facial expressions of participants present in the hearing on January 28th, I sensed a clear sense of a shared mental reaction during the arguments on this restitution evidentiary Table submitted by the Prosecution (identification…) (display my Exhibit I)

I think we felt something of a Master’s compassionate consternation with the hypocrisy at his accusers.  (Luke 6:5-11  Mark 4:20-30)

I was stunned that 8 months had elapsed with apparently no prior conversations, out of court, between the opposing sides and the court in this case, and would have imagined it had been resolved by negotiation during those delays, and relegated to where it deserved to be disposed. – unworthy of evidence in any court of law.

This very document [hold up Exhibit 1] is self-incriminating evidence for all the world to see.  It represents in microcosm an enormous cloud of deception, exaggerated expenditures in time, energy and cost under which Y-12 has hidden these 70 years since its inception.  It reveals but a sample of the extortion by unaccounted for or unaccountable profiteering and blatant miscalculation over Y-12’s entire evolution till today. – Draconian extortion of the hard-earned labor of the people in this country over the last 70 years, and perhaps before.

It provides evidence why we are in deep trouble today. – A perfect analogy to what Greg spoke of as “Emperor’s new clothes.”

Why can we not call a spade a spade?

Why can we not admit the bare truth, and just get on with what is humanly possible: transforming this humanly constructed horrific monstrosity, an entity which has, effectively un-impeded, evolved into risks of perilous portent to the very existence of this sacred Planet and life as we have known it; for whose transformation we all readily long to give our lives.

Who or what is capable of naming, and being heard to name,

this Emperor’s new clothes?

(if not already named in countless ways and forms.)

When will we be willing to listen,

and to face the truth?

PART II

 

Good morning!  Thank you, Judge Thapar, and each of you, in this Beloved Community.  We are so grateful this morning, in the depths of our hearts.  Grateful to each of you for gracing us from your very busy lives, to be here once again.  Your coming here from Kentucky, your honor, and up from New Orleans, Bill and Anna.  Down form Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Anabel and David, faithfully giving time, and so much zesty, passionate energy and legal expertise in popular education for tru­th and justice’s sake on current status of international and domestic law; and here, also from a crowded date book at Yale’s Schools of Divinity and of Forestry and the Environment, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, to witness on behalf of our entire Planet.  A Beloved Community joins us in Spirit, from the four corners of the Earth, speaking truth from people in places like Seychelles, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Denmark, Finland, France, Belgium, Qatar, Bolivia, Alaska, Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Montenegro, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Britain, and many places in between.  These messages from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers came by post for this court. May I deliver them now?

It is indeed fitting as the issue here before us today has touched with perilous risk, for 70 years, the very existence of our sacred, lovely home, which we all share and try to treasure – our Planet Earth, which many of us revere as Mother!  So thank you.  We treasured the time all you gave in attending the trial in one way or another.

This trial has exposed, quite gratuitously, in the evidence, thanks to the prosecution’s witnesses, the truth about what is happening.  That this one facility is part, of what Kristen Iversen says, the U.S. has become: one, huge, bomb factory, of which Y-12 is but one very significant part.

We are all grateful, as Anabel Dwyer points out, with the Defense team of Lawyers, that the details of the goings-on at Y-12 were revealed by the witnesses for the government, details kept mostly secret, over nigh to 70 years – the specific warheads being “enhanced” and “modernized” – the enormous quantities of highly enriched uranium material (HEUM) produced and stored there, in the very building we were able, almost unknowingly, to reach, to touch, and to label with statements and symbols of truth.   This alerted Y-12 workers to what has been kept secret for nearly 70 years.

The secrecy began in 1943, when worker women, by thousands, could not tell fellow workers or family.  Still now, secrets are kept between workers, officials, and managers.  The secrecy prevailed to try relentlessly to turn these United States into a “super power,” an empire.  As Germany tried to be under the Third Reich.  When I was growing up, to our generation, these were very evil terms.  Has any empire, or aspiring super-power not declined, not fallen apart from exceptionalism into decadence?  So we had to come to this facility to call it to transformation.  Thank you for revealing these secrets as evidence.

Many who were here on Jan. 28th had attended plowshares trials around the country, your honor, from the most recent in Tacoma, WA – the Disarm Now Plowshares (seniors also, I allege, aged from 84-60: One Sacred Heart Sister, Anne Montgomery of happy memory, 2 Jesuits Frs. Bill Bicshel and Steve Kelly, and 2 grandmothers, Susan Crane and Lynne Greenwald.)  In many of these earlier trials, even the words, nuclear weapons, have been called “classified” and denied to be alluded to.  Despite being components for weapons of mass destruction, contrary to the Non-Proliferation and other treaties and laws, to which the U.S. is legally bound, and for which crimes we citizens bear shared responsibility by law to expose and oppose as crimes, when we know they are being committed.

And still we have more room and reasons for gratitude, you honor.  Because recent laws, by the U.S. congress, gave you distress, you felt that you had to keep these jury-convicted, conscience-bound peace-makers as “violent saboteurs,” felons accused of “seriously damaging the national defense of the U.S.” in detention while awaiting sentencing.  Detention in a privately-contracted, for profit, rendition warehouse, which punishes and tortures unsentenced people, partly because of the enormously overcrowded courts and prisons in this country.       These facilities are not effectively overseen nor accountable.  Because of our experience of the ill-equipped conditions and inadequately trained personnel in those for-profit warehouses, we now know how U.S. citizens and non-citizens are treated for nonviolent crimes of “conspiracy” and other medical, drug laws as they exist.  Crimes engendered by the failed socio-economic situation which prevails today in a national security state.  The direct fall-out from gross misspending to maintain a nuclear industrial complex – of ten trillions of dollars over these last 70 years.  An economic system devoid of any outcome other than death, poverty for the masses in a debt-ridden country, with obscene wealth for the less than 1% of the people – individuals wealthier than the GNP of entire countries and I would ask, from war-profiteering?

We thank you, Judge Thapar, for giving us this time to become inspired by truly great human beings, so patiently enduring flagrantly inhuman conditions.  We can now report to you and the general public, who are the government, of the conditions where people are experiencing punishment and torture as unsentenced, awaiting changing court dates, or places in federal prisons today.  We have seen how this far-profit detention contract system fails to accomplish any kind of restorative justice or rehabilitation.  Women and men who are the victims of a nation, impoverished by the violence and cost of an economy based on manufacturing WMDs and war-making – inhumanly separated by distance and poverty, managerial incompetence; inordinately separated from contact with loved ones and families.

I am grateful also for what Daniel Berrigan called in a letter to me in Danbury Prison in 1998, “my time under federal scholarship.”  We have tried to make the most of it.  (Have learned enough for 2 or 3 Masters degrees, and written and received letters to and from enough to do a doctoral dissertation!)  We are activated by the people who suffer under disempowering conditions of detention.  Activated to invite U.S. prison reform, which calls for transformation of minds and hearts from violence.  Violence of profiteering from the “fall out” of constant, unending war-making, by a military industrial complex.  Those engaged in the production of ever more massively powerful, death-dealing weapons, – nuclear, chemical, biological, unmanned weapons, which rob the poor and sabotage and pollute all of life and creation on this Planet.  Imagine the profit accrued by charges like mine: $15 for one 10 minute call to Washington DC from Knoxville Detention Facility.  TN instate calls can be close to $3.00 each for 10 minutes.  Or a sick call, which can cost an inmate $15 to obtain a dropped, previously sanctioned prescription for a nightly Claritin tablet for controlling an allergy condition.  Medical records denied to be passed on from facility to facility as inmates are moved along to prisons.

We are energized to call for life-enhancing alternative projects: like disarmament, depleting radioactive isotopes and toxins, and those which meet real needs – social, cultural, spiritual and environmental: restoration, healing, harmony, balance and peace in non-violence.

May I close with a prayer?  A rendition of an ancient Hebrew country song – PS 98 (according to Nan Merrill) as again we thank you, Judge Thapar, honorable jurors, our defense team, lawyers on behalf of the government (whose crimes, we as law-abiding citizens attempt to disclose, oppose, and heal), and for each of you, you in this most honorable Beloved Community, a prophetic peace-making remnant, from whom we receive hope and inspiration and encouragement to carry on as grateful participants in your noble pursuits:

Let us sing to the Beloved a new song.

For Love has done marvelous things!

By the strength of Your Indwelling Presence, (Your right hand)

We, too, are called to do great things;

We are set free through Love’s Forgiveness and Truth.

Yes, for Your steadfast Love and Faithfulness

are ever-present gifts

in our lives.

All the ends of the earth have seen

the glory of Love’s Eternal Flame.

Make a joyful noise to the Beloved,

all the Earth;

Break forth into grateful song

and sing praises! [-Sacred the Land, Sacred the Water, Sacred the Sky, holy and true!]

Yes, sing songs of praise extolling

Love’s way;

Lift up your hearts with gratitude and Joy!

Let the voices of all people blend in harmony,

in unison let the peoples magnify the Beloved!

Let the waters clap their hands!

Let the hills ring out with joy!

Before the Beloved who radiates Love to all the earth.

For Love reigns over the world

with truth and justice,

bringing order and balance, [harmony]

to all Creation!

In keeping with all that is just and Fair.

and may we go forth

as Your holy right hand, to do great things, in Love!

(MK 3: LK 7)

Megan then asked the judge if it would be all right to sing a song. He agreed, then was taken aback as she turned to the audience and they rose to join her in singing “Sacred the Earth.”

Sr. Megan Rice, SHCJ, February 18, 2014

U S Federal Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Rev. Judy’s Homily for the Seventh Sunday 2/23/14-Love Who? Be What?

 Be what? Love who? Be what? Are the questions that may rise to our lips as we consider the texts for Sunday.  With an air of incredulity and a sense of “you have got to be kidding” we shudder as we consider our daily lives and the struggles of our world with what is asked of us in the Law of Moses and the spirit of the Law that Jesus preached.  What does God want of us? What did Jesus ask of us after all?

In the readings for Sunday we are told, as the Israelites were, to “be holy”, not to hate or exact vengeance, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19: 1-2, 17-18).  The Epistle reading (I Cor. 3:16-23) tells us that we are holy temples of God. And Jesus takes the Law one step farther in asking that we love not only our neighbors but our enemies. He sums it up by asking us to be perfect as our God is perfect.

Living the life that Jesus taught is hard!  Now, as then, it is counter cultural and sometimes counter intuitive. Our readings today go to the heart of the Gospel Jesus preached and once again we are challenged by them.

Let’s make it real. Last week our News-Press ran an article about sexual offenders being dropped off in the woods to live in primitive make-shift camps because of the laws which prohibit them from living so many feet from schools and children. The truth is that once convicted, employment and housing are equally major problems. Editorials were quickly written and some allowed that despite despicable acts even sexual offenders deserved to live indoors (I very much agree) others said that they deserved to live nowhere. I have worked and ministered to some of the sex offenders who live in the woods, and more often with those whose lives have been forever stunted and altered by sexual offenders and predators. Sometimes I have had to pray hard for the grace to treat the offenders with Christ’s love. It was not easy. If they do come to church on Sunday, the church leaders and I welcome them then watch like  hawks so they are nowhere near our beloved children. I only had to intervene on one occasion, but I fully understood the editorials that wanted them run out of town entirely (to someone else’s town).  Of course the Church actually did that in repeatedly passing along and not stopping priests who sexually abused children.   Only now are the victims heard and the Church is asking forgiveness and dealing with recompense. But there is no real recompense for such hurt caused by those who were trusted with the spiritual and actual lives of God’s children.

On the larger scale, as a diaspora New Yorker who viewed those Twin Towers on a daily basis at one time, and a US citizen I am still working on forgiving the suicide bombers who caused the World Trade Towers to fall on 9/11, and  forgiving is a precursor to love for those who are our enemies. Never mind how our own hatreds perpetuate enmity and how many thousands of innocents our bombs and drones have killed.  Jesus is saying if you don’t strike back the hateful actions stop-and that is a revolutionary and perhaps  practical understanding. They certainly have not stopped with our striking back.

Another example: I love animals. When a man living in a nearby town tied his little dog to the back of his pickup truck and dragged it through the streets practically skinning it alive, I said “they ought to drag him by that truck!” Miraculously the little dog survived and was adopted but the man only got a fine. I was livid-I wanted justice and maybe I wanted vengeance. There is a fine line, and anger filled my heart.  On another occasion I worked with a down and out couple where the man was abusive of the woman. We were able to help them both get incomes and housing.  She repeatedly returned to him even when she finally received her own income and housing. I found it hard not to lose patience with her, but by the Grace of God, I didn’t.  Once she was in our food pantry getting food and he appeared at the door yelling and drunk. He attempted to push past our co-Pastor Judy Beaumont to get in, grabbing her shoulder. I confess, I literally pushed him out of the doorway so that he landed on the ground. I then shut the door and the woman stayed with us until he left. Yes, I was angry and confess again, the woman got still another lecture that she probably would or could not heed.  I am in no way perfected in love! And, that is my understanding of what Jesus means by “Be perfect”.  How do we learn to love as God loves?

Jesus said “love your enemies and pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are children of God. For God makes the sun to rise on bad and good alike; God’s rain falls on the just and unjust.

If you love those who love you what merit is there in that….Therefore be perfect as Abba God in heaven is perfect.”(Matt. 5:48- The Inclusive Bible).

It is not humanly possible to be perfect in the usual English meanings of the word-flawlessness and infallibility. But Jesus did not speak or think in English. Nor did he speak Greek to the largely peasant masses that gathered at his feet, but many scriptural interpretations relate to Greek words. Jesus spoke Aramaic and lived in the Semitic, Hebrew culture of his times.  According to Errico (“And There Was Light…” p.102) the Aramaic word gmeera means perfect in the sense of “complete”, “thorough”, “finished” “full-grown”, “mature”, “accomplished”, “comprehensive”, ”rounded out”, and “all-inclusive”. It is used in the Near East for arriving at maturity.  As the context for Jesus’ words about being perfect is loving those who are not your friends or even your countrymen and women, and those who may indeed be your enemies, Jesus is saying love like God loves-the rain falls on all-just and unjust. God’s love is all inclusive, all are God’s children, no one is left out. Wow!

One Peshitta text for Matt 5:48 reads: “therefore be all-inclusive even as your Father who is in heaven is all-inclusive”. Our very purpose in life is to be a non-violent and loving presence. We cannot will this to happen within us, but,thanks be to God, the Spirit enlivens us.  God’s presence within us shines through as we love and grow in loving, for we are never finished with this kind of essential growth. When we grow and show the face of Love, God is happening. (Errico, And There Was Light, pp 166-169).   Growing maturity in the faith of Christ is demonstrated by our growth in all- inclusive love.  I will soon reach my 71st birthday and I am not there yet. But at least I usually know when I am falling short and when it is only God’s grace that enables such love to come from me. And I know because that happens all the time.   I think that is what the Epistle (I Cor. 3:23) means when it says “…you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God”-God empowers us to be what God wants us to be-the face of love.

The Message translation is closer to the Aramaic meanings and I like it:

“In a word, what I’m saying is Grow Up….live out your God created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”(Matt 5:48)

Here is a prayer, maybe you will pray it with me: Our loving God, teach me, change me, and breathe love into me and through me. It is too hard for me to “get it” on my own.  Help me to grow up in the faith of Jesus the Christ.

Amen.

Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP

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Mr. Gary Chooses Baptism and says “Now I am Full”

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Mr. Harry Lee Peter Gary with Hank Tessandori (left) and Judy Alves,Mr. Gary’s Sponsors, with Pastors Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont

When Mr. Harry Lee Gary who is 63 years old asked me to baptize him I was stopped in my tracks. My first feeling was what John the Baptist said to Jesus “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”(Matt 3: 14). I did say that to him and he shared the story of his baptism about eight years ago by a young person who reached out while he was initially  homeless. He did not feel that he was “truly” baptized nor was he welcomed into a church or faith community.  He is a man of great faith who has been worshiping with us in our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community since we had Church in the Park in 2007.  At that time he was homeless. He asked me if we would have a ministry in which people could participate as readers and if I would teach about Jesus. He became our regular Lector and he did prompt me to preach and teach about the God of Love that I know well, and the Christ who knew what it means to be homeless and poor,who chose the outcast instead of the religious leaders to hear and spread the Good News.

As we talked together he responded to my counsel to forgive and reconcile with his family. He moved in with his son and was happy to be reconciled with his whole family. In time he was fully eligible for Social Security Disability due to his severe and chronic spinal stenosis and he also got his own little townhouse through Goodwill housing, a wonderful and rare resource for the physically disabled.  He became an Elder in our church,not by age but by faith commitment and faithfulness to the Gospel.We have been in our church in a house since 2009.  He is our regular Psalm leader and he also preaches after I do when I invite “the word upon the word” of the day-in interactive homily. People who suffered as he did and overcame as he did, or those who hoped to do so, found his testimonies lights to Christ. He is my right hand in reaching out in the homeless community and mentoring our youth. The little children love him as a Grandpa.  Yes, if I needed to be baptized he is one who could baptize me!

But he convinced me that there was an emptiness within him still to be filled by Baptism and later by Confirmation with our church members. It was our church preparing for Confirmation that had prompted his opening up about his baptism. He identified with Peter “who made a lot of mistakes but loved Jesus” and chose that as his new name.  I humbly agreed to baptize this strong man of God.

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Mr. Gary and I are praying before his baptism

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Blessing the Water

Baptized                                                                                     AnointedIMG_0081               IMG_0077

IMG_0088

IMG_0114

Given the Light

Filled With Peace and Joy

Baptized with

Water 

 

                                                                                   

Filled with the Spirit and ready to serve!

                                                                                                                AMEN!

Sr. Megan Gets 35 months…what Justice is this? More of the Story

If this is mercy,spare us…Let us continue in prayer and support of these saints.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – An 84-year-old nun and two other activists who broke into the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in 2012 were sentenced Tuesday afternoon.
Sister Megan Rice was sentenced to 35 months in prison minus time served. Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to 62 months and three years supervised release.
Their attorneys had argued they should be sentenced to time served, or about nine months, because of their record of goodwill.
The hearing began on January 28 but had to be postponed due to winter weather.
The three cut through fences in July 2012, reaching a storage bunker that contains the nation’s primary supply of uranium.
While officials claimed there was never any danger, questions about security were raised.
MORE of the Story and WHY….
by tnplowshares

Judge Amul R. Thapar passed sentence on Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice

and Michael Walli on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 in federal court in

Knoxville, Tennessee. The three were convicted in May 2013 for their

nonviolent action called Transform Now Plowshares at the Y12 Nuclear

Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on charges of depredation of

property and sabotage—the convictions carried possible maximum

sentences of 30 years in prison. Sentencing guidelines, based on

factors including history,  recommended sentences ranging from 6-10

years.

 

Sentencing began at 1:30pm; the three were permitted to be in the

courtroom together by Judge Thapar.

 

Michael Walli received a sentence of 62 months on each count, to be

served concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

 

Greg Boertje-Obed received a sentence of 62 months on each count, to

be served concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

 

Megan Rice received a sentence of 35 months on each count, to be

served concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised probation.

 

“Judge Thapar has tried to strike a compromise that reflects the

nature of this nonviolent action but satisfies the government’s

demand that Megan, Michael and Greg’s sentence send a deterrent

message to the wider community. For now, their bodies remain in

prison. But their voices are free, reminding us that the central

issue of this action and trial have not been resolved—as long as the

government continues to produce thermonuclear weapons of mass

destruction in Oak Ridge or anywhere, people are required to resist,”

said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental

Peace Alliance.

 

At the hearing, each of the Plowshares resisters spoke, reminding the

court of the central purpose of their action—to call the court’s

attention to the ongoing violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation

Treaty at the Y12 plant in Oak Ridge. In testimony at hearings

leading up to the trial, former Attorney General of the United States

Ramsey Clark called the production of nuclear weapons components at

Y12 “unlawful,” and the work there “a criminal enterprise.”

 

Megan, Michael and Greg entered Y12 in the wee hours of the morning

on July 28, 2012, cutting four fences and traversing a lethal-force-

authorized zone, arriving at the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials

Facility, the nation’s warehouse of weapons grade highly enriched

uranium. They poured blood on the walls of the HEUMF and spray

painted “Plowshares Please Isaiah,” and “The Fruit of Justice is

Peace.” They also chipped a corner of the concrete wall with a small

hammer, a symbolic act reflecting the Old Testament prophecy of

Isaiah who said, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.”

 

The statement issued at the time declared the United States in

violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and said Y12 was

chosen for the action because of plans for a multi-billion dollar

bomb plant to be built there—the Uranium Processing Facility. The

sole purpose of the UPF (pricetag now $19 billion) is to produce

thermonuclear cores for warheads and bombs. Y12 is an active weapons

production facility—workers today are performing Life Extension

Upgrades on the W76 warhead at Y12.

 

Supporters outside the courtroom said, “The United States is breaking

its own law when it builds bombs in Oak Ridge. Any goverment that

would lock up Megan, Michael and Greg is desperate to hide the truth.

By their actions, they have broken the silence; their sacrifice

challenges each of us to speak up for a safer world. In prison or

out, Michael, Greg and Megan will continue to pray and work to save

the life of the planet.”

 

tnplowshares | February 18, 2014 at 11:44 pm | Categories: Updates | URL:http://wp.me/p2DeLo-d3
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Asking Prayers and Justice For Sister Megan and The Transform Now Plowshares -Sentencing Today Feb 18th

Today,2/18/14 is the sentencing of the Plowshares Now group. This valiant trio including Sister Megan Rice, 83, will be sentenced separately beginning at 12 PM. Sister Megan will be sentenced at 4PM.  Judge Thapar has received good council from Berman and the defense that could allow leniency in sentencing. Let us pray for justice and mercy for these three peace and antinuclear activists who are following the leads of conscience and are in no way terrorists. theirs is the way of Christ.

Here is the blog by tnplowshares:

Judge Amul Thapar received a sentencing brief from sentencing law expert Douglas Berman on the eve of the Transform Now Sentencing hearings. Berman’s brief dealt with several questions raised in court at the first session of the sentencing which was disrupted by snow on January 28.

One argument put forward by the defense at the initial hearing was the use of the sabotage law against nonviolent protesters was outside the “heartland” of the law—meaning the law was intended for use against real saboteurs, not in cases like this. The prosecution argued, and the judge appeared to agree, that since the sabotage law was upgraded, it was rarely used against civilians, in fact, it had been used only three times, and all of them were in nuclear weapons protest cases. The logic was “if this is what it is being used for, it must be what it was meant for.” The judge, ignoring the fact that in two of those three cases judges had ruled for the defendants that the case was “outside the heartland,” concurred with the prosecution. Professor Berman disagrees.

The defense attorneys labored into the evening Monday, February 17, and filed their response to Bermans’ brief, noting Judge Thapar now not only has the discretion to provide some relief in sentencing, but has the opinion of an expert who suggests the Transform Now Plowshares defendants need not and should not be treated as though they were terrorists bent on actual sabotage.

You can read the Berman brief here:

Berman Friend Brief for Judge Thapar

And you can read the superb response by the defense team here:

Defendant’s Reponse to Court’s Request for Guidance 2-17-14

Sentencing on February 18 is expected to begin at noon with Michael Walli, followed by Greg Boertje-Obed at 2:00 and Megan Rice at 4:00pm.