Fellowship of Hope: An Invitation

Friends,
 
I was fortunate to attend last Sunday’s continued Fellowship of Hope in which supporters of the Disarm Now Plowshares, and everything for which they stand, came together in prayer, song and fellowship.  On the table leading into the sanctuary at St. Leo Church in Tacoma were flowers, a photo of the Disarm Now Plowshares five holding their banner, and a handout that stated boldly, “Disarm Now Plowshares – Trident: Illegal – Immoral,” and small handouts that read “We pray for peace… and for them… until all are free…”

Bill Bischel, S.J. Steve Kelly, S.J., Anne Montgomery, RSCM, Lynne Greenwald, Susan Crane

Those last four words gave me pause, as I realized that beyond the freedom from prison for our five brothers and sisters, there is the global issue of freedom from the dark cloud of nuclear omnicide that has darkened our world for decades.  As the nuclear powers focus their efforts to upgrade their nuclear arsenals I realize that none of us are free until the day we see the last nuclear warhead decommissioned.   

The Disarm Now Plowshares, through their act of faith and courage, have brought together a community of peacemakers committed to working for peace, and particularly willing to join the struggle in one of the most (if not the most) difficult topics of our time – the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Amidst the song, the prayers and the news of Disarm Now Plowshares and other nuclear resisters, we heard a message from Bix.  John Dear had asked Joe Power-Drutis to ask Bix for a message, and of course Bix came through with something deep from within his heart; more than a message, it is an invitation. 

Here is Bix’s message dated May 31, 2011:

We Americans are lulled and brainwashed. We accept the security of nuclear weapons as our guardians. As a result, we live a type of Midas Touch, embracing gold and all that shines while we decay within from greed, addiction, and selfishness. Beyond this, we arm ourselves more and more for the destruction of others.

Jesus comes to us in the midst of this, and no matter how high the waves of empire might be, that threaten to swamp us, he invites us to walk the path he walks and to believe his Kingdom is real.

Jesus doesn’t give up on us. He tells us, “Do not be afraid.” He invites us to follow him and walk through the violence, to walk in resistance to the Powers that bring death. He invites us to a life of real community where we care for each other as brothers and sisters. No matter how small the seed of our efforts, the Powers fear most our attempts to come together and live as God intended us to live.

We as a people must come together and meet one another and invite the Spirit to come into our midst. “Where two or more are gathered,” the Spirit will be. We must trust this and follow the call of our hearts. We are called to say “yes” to God’s invitation and to be a part of God’s Kingdom as it unfolds in our lives.

May we remember our imprisoned resisters and join their efforts for peace and justice, for a world without cruel and inhuman punishment.

I felt that spirit of which Bix speaks as I sat with my brothers and sisters the other evening at St. Leo’s, and feel it with each contact with someone who offers to help or write a letter or asks what they can do to abolish nuclear weapons.  That spirit that brings us together and binds us together knows no church walls; it knows no boundaries.  May that spirit continue to bind us together in the spirit of love, compassion and community as we continue disarming our hearts as we struggle towards global disarmament and a world at peace with justice. 

As the last line of the prayer on the back of the handout said, “…let this be the time when your Spirit changes human hearts, and you grant to the world your everlasting peace.”  May it be so.

Thank you Bix and Disarm Now Plowshares.

Peace,

Leonard

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