Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey —
I am guessing that many of you reading this are under a winter storm warning as another nor’easter is showing its mighty force. Please be safe – don’t be out in it unless it is absolutely necessary.
This past Sunday Patti Lacombe and Amy Cousins were instrumental in organizing a way for those in the service to send notes to Rev LeRoy expressing their thoughts to him. He read every one of them and he was so happy to hear from you.
Speaking of Rev LeRoy, we have a tentative diagnosis that he has an autoimmune disease and at this moment we don’t have a way forward. We appreciate your continued prayers – stay tuned.
The message on Sunday came from the book Walking the Way, written by Fr. John Dear (by the way, you still have time to register for his workshop). This book is a Lenten Journey of Gospel Nonviolence to the Cross and Resurrection.
I opened the talk with this paragraph from the first page of the introduction from Fr. John: “The more I wake up to the radical life of Jesus, the more I decide to throw my lot with him all over again. I continually find myself choosing not to follow any politician, celebrity, or religious leader but to keep myself focused on Jesus and follow in his footsteps even thought I am not sure where they lead. Though I do not know the outcome or the end of the journey, I am sure that this conscious focus on the nonviolent Jesus gives my life ever-new meaning and inspires me to continue to work for justice and disarmament in the world, whether or not I’m able to make a difference.”
Dear very clearly respects the work of Mohandas Gandhi. Here is what he has to say: “Gandhi taught that Jesus was the greatest practitioner of nonviolence, that his teachings offered humanity a new vision for the coming of a new, nonviolent world, and that Jesus’ nonviolence demanded practical, political action. Gandhi could not understand how any Christian could support war or violence of any kind, given the track record and teachings of the nonviolent Jesus. Christians are required to put down the sword and seek first the kingdom of God, Gandhi believed. To him, that meant dedicated, committed, active nonviolence in the footsteps of Jesus.”
Let’s look at the nonviolent Jesus. Jesus was a movement organizer who speaks out, who trains his disciples to be nonviolent, builds a campaign and acts. Whoever shows the slightest interest in his mission is immediately invited to join his campaign. Remember his call to those who showed interest was “Follow Me.” He was about growing a movement that spread far and wide, a movement of nonviolence that would keep moving. This is our call: to walk the way of peace with him.
Jesus makes the decision to turn toward Jerusalem, sets his face toward the holy city, and starts working. Here is what Fr. John says about this decision: “At some point, all of us who claim to be followers of this person need to change direction and set off with him toward the center of government, empire and religion, with the announcement of God’s nonviolent kingdom at hand. Jesus is going to confront the world systemic injustice head on, and he’s taking us with him.”
I hope I have given you just enough to pique your interest to listen to the entire talk.
Join me this coming Sunday as we continue the walk to Jerusalem with Jesus.
Just a reminder: Take a moment right now and register for Fr. John Dear’s all-day event on March 17 at Saint Joseph’s College.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey