Have the courage to live fully in our faith
The Rev. Peter A. Luckey, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:
Like the lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” my wish is for courage.
The early Christian martyrs were willing to be marched into a coliseum infested with hungry lions, if the alternative meant denying their faith.
Our Congregationalist ancestors would rather uproot themselves from a life of comfort in New England and come out here to Bleeding Kansas than turn their back on the evil of slavery.
How committed are we to our principles? How important to us is our own comfort and ease?
Pointing out the fecklessness of politicians, more attuned to their chances for re election than the dictates of conscience, is easy. What’s harder is looking oneself in the mirror.
Ask yourself: if you were arrested for being a person of faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Recently, at Plymouth Church, in a small way we have had our own test of conscience.
The Lawrence Community Shelter has asked the downtown churches whether there might be overflow space available on frigid nights when their own small building reaches a maximum capacity of 76 persons.
Not an easy decision. These days especially when governments and social service providers are so strapped, when LCS has itself been treated like the unwanted neighbor.
Here in Lawrence we have, according to LCS director Loring Henderson, up to 400 persons experiencing homelessness, half of these families.
As the temperature plunges, and we tell again the story of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to have their baby, we ask ourselves, “Who will step up?”
Discomfort comes in many forms, one of which is an uneasy conscience.
So, my wish is for courage, I take strength in these words from Joshua, who said “be strong and be of good courage, and fear not the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go.”
— Send e-mail to Peter Luckey at email@example.com.
Meet the needs of others rather than sports
The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:
The Christian story of Christmas tells of a teenage unwed mother, forced from her home by a political edict, a refugee who gave birth in the most unsanitary conditions. Her child entered a world controlled by a superpower at the heights of its hegemony, with little prospects for life, health and education. At the core of this narrative is today’s reality for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
We gather at this holiday season in the light of recent stories in the Journal-World, such as our governor stating he will not support any more cuts in education for our schools and universities; sharp cut-backs and lay-offs at Bert Nash Community Mental Health service because of decreasing state funds; the Lawrence Community Shelter scrambling for emergency space for homeless in the bitter winter cold because there is “no room in the inn” for the number of vulnerable people in our city. At the same time, we read that KU Athletics is on track to raise $34 million dollars for luxury box seats, which will sell for as much as $105,000 per seat!
My Christmas wish for Lawrence would be for civic leaders to say, “Enough.” We need to take care of our most at risk citizens, we need to build our life as a community. KU Athletics has already siphoned too many valuable resources from our arts, music and library programs, and from our synagogues and churches. Meanwhile our social service, such as ECKAN, Salvation Army, and the Women’s Transitional Shelter, struggle each month to meet the needs of people who are hungry, homeless and threatened.
My wish is to take seriously the words of Mary’s son, “When I was hungry, you fed me; naked, you clothed me.”
— Send e-mail to Kent Winters-Hazelton at firstname.lastname@example.org