What do you think of when you hear Birmingham, Alabama? For the past three days the Birmingham Unitarian Church and the Mendel family - a lovely Jewish/Christian blend - have offered me warm welcome and great hospitality. The church here is rooted in the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. On Sunday the church was full with people of all ages and we sang new songs of peace and justice . People came with guitars, fiddles, whistles, and drums. We shared stories of hope and open hearts. We prayed in words, in silence, and in song. We lifted our prayers on behalf of those who are denied a voice . We held each other in our struggles and in our pain. We shared a new sense of hope that seems to be beginning in this country and we envisioned a better society guided by the Spirit of Peace , not war. We affirmed the dignity of all people and welcomed people in their differences
Tonight we sat together in silent meditation in a Buddhist Sangha in an Episcopal Church named after St. Francis . We went on a silent walking meditation. We gathered to sing a new song based on Celtic melodies - a song of hope and passion called " I Arise Today". We dreamed of new possibilities.
Back at the Mendel House a very articulate young woman shared with me a video that I would suggest everyone sees. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat or Independent go to You Tube and see the latest Obama video selections. There are some amazing moments that speak of a new American hope and belief in our human possibilities. Look especially at the delightfully satiric " Obama in 30 seconds".
Through our gathering...in our conversation, our singing, our shared silence, our listening, our walking, our laughing and our learning, and through our eating together we encourage each other. This is the communion that Christ calls us to enter. This is Eucharist. This is Joy!
In Birmingham, Alabama...