While marching in America's Journey for Justice last Sunday, I was singing "Siyahamba" in my heart. "We are marching in the Light of God, we are marching in the Light of God!" My fellow marchers were also singing spiritual songs from the Jewish and Christian faith traditions. Our hearts were lifted as God marched with us.
The Torah was carried on the march from Selma and will continue to be carried on to the march's completion Washington D.C. The Torah is comprised of the Books of Moses - the first five books of our Christian Bible. The opening sentences of the New Revised Standard Version of Genesis are "In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." The opening sentences of the Gospel of John are "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."
Throughout this march, I recalled that God is the Word and we believe that Jesus is the Word made flesh, and as we carried the Word with us, God was physically and spiritually present with us in a very real and profound way.
I was asked a few times by local Christians what was that object we were carrying? Obviously, it was sacred to the Jewish marchers, but they noticed that it was also held reverently by others. One homeland security offer asked me if it might be a chair? I explained that it was the Torah, and then explained that our Christian Bible begins with the Jewish Bible - we are connected and believe in the same God the Father - Creator of all.
But as I further reflect on this officer's question, "Is it a chair?", I realize that he was speaking a truth. Because we all rest in God - we rely on God to give us a place of rest so we may renew our strength to move on. We are renewed by the Light of God. We continue to march in the Light of God! God was speaking to me through this man and reminding me to stay balanced, to rest when necessary, and to stay strong in my faith and continue to speak of God's love of diversity - God's love for all creation!
I am in a process of creating a photo essay in a humble attempt to convey the miraculous changes within me during this march. I will tell you of what I learned about economic injustices and the erosion of our voting rights, and I will tell you how the language of inclusion can sometimes cause people of difference to feel even further separated.
Please look forward to my photo essay, my future blog posts, and my presentation to our congregation during Sunday Worship Service on September 6th, 10am.
Please keep the marchers in your prayers as they continue on the road through Atlanta, then the Carolinas, and into Virginia, on their way to Washington D.C.
And take a moment to listen to "Siyahamba" and feel the energy of God's presence in this South African Freedom Song.
I continue to ask that you pray for me in the role of Public Theology Advocate as I take a stand for justice. Respond to this blog, or contact me directly, with your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about social justice in the Pascack Valley region.