It has been a wonderful summer of sunshine, warm days, sweet evenings – in Minnesota, largely indoors, being overly mindful of laughingly touching elbows with those you greet on the street, of feeling deprived of summer as I’ve known it all my life: on the water, with paddle in my hands, making my way up Pine River, and coming back to Molly by evening for talk and quiet reading by the fireplace.
But just in recent days a stirring has come, an urge has come over me, to order my days, however simply, to writing, and thinking, and recording these passing hours in such a way as to have my soul stirred, my person confronted, my being galvanized to use this chapter of time to gain perspective, to write my reflection, to encourage others to make these “good use days.”
On too many days I wasn’t sure of the time, the date, the place of this day in the scheme of things. But I realize I CAN GET BACK TO EXERCISE. I can READ THE NEWS. I can think of THE MEANING OF THE DAYS AND TIMES.
It is not right to smash store windows because you are angry. Nor to burn businesses because I am frustrated and want to “pay back” a city or society that hasn’t wanted to do things my way.
I would like Al Sharpton to stay home, and let others find their voice and speak, shrill as they may be. In the March on Washington today, Martin Luther King’s 12-year-old granddaughter let fly the shrill protests of those around her. Not the words of peace – nor particularly of prayer, that her grandfather voiced from a brave heart of faith, on the Washington Mall five decades ago, that still stir the world.
It is far harder to speak peace, and lift up words of love, and dare to say, “I have a dream,” than to shout the anger you may rightly feel.
I can see that God has kept me home in Minneapolis this summer to see the rage in my own city and to find a way to be part of this summer’s turmoil.
I can speak faith and love, peace and hope to the little handfuls of people left to me – in my summer Bible Study at the Hilltop, at a quiet table in Starbucks at Jerry’s over coffee, with friends who want to drink coffee with me, accepting Gardner Gay’s invitation to join a Rap on Culture with Gardner and his friend in the city, Rev. Brian Herron, pastor of Zion Baptist Church, where Molly’s innocent suggestion of “Why not Christian Visitors, to go home and home to each other’s churches?” is happening, to write blogs as candid and Christ-like as I can make them for my small audience to read and think about –
- OR, maybe more: WHO KNOWS?
But, stumble as I may, I’m feeling ready, called, to “get up and go,” to step out and do – what little may be left for me to do, while there is still time.
After all, why not, after 70 years of faithful life together, with the most wonderful woman I know, doing ministry, in the parish, and of course the 25 years together in Africa bringing reconciliation to Rwanda and beyond, speaking Jesus, following Molly in asking forgiveness, going to our knees together to wash the feet of the wounded across Africa – so many, so wounded, and being their friends still?
Love you all,
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Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES