Yesterday was bananas crazy. I was driving to a meeting and traveling from Tukwila, WA to the north of Seattle, WA. In Highline, which is in south Seattle, I was driving down the street and heard sirens. I looked around and saw the siren coming around the corner. I could barely see the siren above the tall things that were between us. I slowed down and pulled to the right.
Then, roaring around the corner came five police cars chasing another car. The car made a wide turn into my side of the street while the police were forcing the car towards me in an attempt to either get him to stop or crash into me. The car slammed on their brakes. My eyes widened and my grip on the steering wheel intensified. You know how when you slam on the brakes everything goes into straight and strong (straight arms gripping steering wheel as tightly as possible)? That was it. My brain was also stuck. Asking the question, "What the ever bloody heck?" I finally got my act together enough to put it into reverse and back up a bit. The pursued car came to within a car length of my car. We were nearly nose-to-nose.
Then the doors were flung open, young people piled out of the car, two fled on foot, while the others lay on the ground not moving. All while police doors were flung open, a chase ensued, rifles were out and kids were kept in their sights, and the police were giving orders. It was then that I decided to stay for a while to make sure nothing untoward was going to happen. I was going to witness this high anxiety situation. Plus, I didn't really know what else to do.
My observations include that these kids that piled out of the car knew what to do. Lie down and keep very still. This was not their first rodeo. That made me sad. I also thought that I might see these young folks in detention. I perused the police blotter and the only thing I saw was a reference to seven people arrested due to a hit-and-run. Well, the car that didn't crash into me had a big dent in its fender. And while I didn't count the kids, it is possible that there were seven. What I also saw was that two kids ran. One was caught. I saw her laying on the ground. When I saw her with an officer over her, I thought, what did I miss? She looks stunned or hurt or dazed or drugged! She got up with assistance and walked back to the others. I that the shock of it interrupted her processes. I did not see the other runner. I think he got away. And this is the only reason I can think they would arrest passengers for a hit-and-run.
I want to hold that thought. They arrested passengers for a hit-and-run. It is the driver's job to be arrested (or not) for driving things. Not the passenger's job. The only reason I can think of for holding passengers would be to get the driver's information. Essentially, with the exception of the runner, these kids got out of the car and lay still on the ground. These passengers. These witnesses. Is that how we treat witnesses? Does it matter if I say these were youth of color? They were. And also, they could be young adults, I couldn't rightly tell their age. Young adult or youth.
Sigh. We have work to do.
What work do you see that you can do? What can you bear witness to?
Today's practice brings music from Pentatonix, a poem from Emily Dickinson, a sacred quote from Henri J.M. Nouwen, and a photo from Ghalamdar_art at flickr. Along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition. And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out). Our prayers for this week focus on Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.
Also, we are looking for regular contributors to our Tuesday prayer practice. If you would like to make contributions, please let me know!
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--roar
Hallelujah sung by Pentatonix
A Wounded Deer by Emily Dickinson
A Wounded Deer — leaps highest
I've heard the Hunter tell
'Tis but the Ecstasy of death
And then the Brake is still!
The Smitten Rock that gushes!
The trampled Steel that springs!
A Cheek is always redder
Just where the Hectic stings!
Mirth is the Mail of Anguish
In which it Cautious Arm
Lest anybody spy the blood
And "you're hurt" exclaim!
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up.
Focus countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
- The beauty of the mountains, rivers and forests.
- Those who work together to serve the poor.
- Those who offer assistance during the many floods in Bangladesh and to the victims of arsenic contamination of drinking water.
- Those who work for the rights of women and girls.
- Royal Bengal tigers, hoolock gibbons (singing apes) and myna birds.
- Misti dhohi (sweetened yogurt), green coconut water, mangoes, hot curry powder and rice.
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
- A lessening of political unrest, violence and terrorism.
- Political leaders, that they will be guided by concern for all the people.
- Women, that they be respected and have dignity in their work.
- Children who must work to help feed their families, and girls who have been kidnapped or sold into the sex industry.
- Strength for those Christians who live as a minority amid Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu siblings.
- Those affected by frequent flooding, landslides, tropical storms and earthquakes.
- Those who live as refugees, especially the stateless Rohingyas and others or who are internally displaced, that they may to find shelter, food and a means to make a living
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.