Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

Sermon

7 June, 2020

Losing One Self In Order to be Found

 

 

There is New Life in my family, in my heart!

Zoey! Zoey has landed, ever so softly into my soul.

A GRAND – daughter!

A seed of new life, reaching out to become a bird,

Wings touching the sky

She can fly into the future,

She can fly if she wants to, believes in herself!

If she finds that sweet spot of happiness and self-love,

She, or perhaps, hey, it happens, she transitions,

Toward full non-binary being,

I just want her to fly.

 

Don’t think me naïve, not for a moment.

Someone, many someone’s ARE going to tell her she can’t fly.

Cultural messages, body language, harsh words,

Patronizing tones from pale skinned, well-meaning women,

Claiming their liberal positions from safety and security

Men who want to use her body, sell it, capitalize on its use.

 

She’s going to be told that her body does not belong to her.

Zoey is going to find out that others don’t love her body,

And her mind is not good enough.

Want to know how I know this, why am I so damn sure?

Because Zoey does not have that great value of perfect pale skin.

Zoey is covered in gorgeous black and brown tones of history

She carries the burden of oppression and plunder.

It is in her DNA.

She cannot ever undo, no delete button, no reverse, no stop.

Zoey’s story is our country’s story, our human story

Embedded with usury of the other.

Founded upon stolen black bodies.

 

Zoey is loved!  Don’t misunderstand me!

Our family, her parents; ha, red-headed pale Irish ancestry dad,

And brilliant, dark-haired mom, with her Italian heritage,

Oh, Zoey is fed, body and spirit!

Covered in a powerful catholic love by a world community,

An unconditional love! She is loved because she is a radiant being!

Born under the stars and galaxies, Zoey is an energy burst,

may change the world, can change the world!

 

But, my view of reality, is one fueled,

anger, fear, betrayal and deep, deep anguish.

If there is hope for me to feel that powerful

bioenergetic force, animating towards my granddaughter,

if there is hope for me to make that connection happen

with Zoey, for me to feel her palpable radiance?

Then, I need to do some unlearning.

I’ve been taught poison, wrongs, barriers, myths

I’ve been lost in the hall of mirrors,

Seeking connection to falsehoods

Brutal leaders preaching ego-driven visions

Where I and thou can never see one another.

 

Here is what I am unlearning:

Here are myths I need to dismantle.

 

Intellectual mastery leads to connection.

Nope, never going to happen without the heart.

BIG white privileged myth. BIG

 

I have all the answers.

Not so much.

This is another white privileged lie,

valuing authority, embedded with power.

Humility is a better foundation for intimacy.

 

Power equals domination.

This is pure violence.

Domination is toxic, poisons the heart, murders the mind

Power must be shared, transparent, given away, liberated!

 

Powerful art always comes from professional artists.

What?! Look and listen to the city streets, side of buildings, classroom walls,

Inside homes, small hidden studios of the heart,

Simmering, ready to emerge from young and old souls.

 

The US constitution offers equal protection for all people.

Those authors, the ones we built monuments for,

All white, cis-gendered, able-bodied men,

Wrote for other cis-gendered, able-bodied men.

”We the people” does not equal ALL the people.

Look inside the prisons. You’ll see.

 

There are red states, and there are blue states.

Another false binary!

All states are green.

Not for money, you cynic,

For life, green for trees, and stems of life claiming,

Oxygen and water.

 

Police are for public safety.

Maybe for me, white girl.

From beginning, from the foundation,

Created to enforce systems of restriction, punishment.

Maintain hierarchy, competition of the fittest,

for privileged white land owners.

Victims too often blamed instead of protected,

The innocent are guilty or murdered,

deadly for People of Color, deadly!

Look inside the prisons. You’ll see.

 

Everything will be all right.

Said by well meaning, well intentioned,

Wanting to ease their own pain.

Truth of it, all of us, ALL of us, pain is inevitable.

But, however, suffering is optional.

Choices, yours, mine and theirs, determines the extent

Suffering need not exist.

 

Silence is golden.

Sometimes, to listen is the gift,

For our black, brown, Asian, Latinx, LGBTQI, non-binary, disabled

Siblings, all, to listen can save a life.

Silence can also kill.

Know the difference!

 

Disarm the enemy on the battle field.

Ok, but, better still, disarm the heart,

No need for holes in the body, blood on the ground.

Compassion is the most powerful force in the universe,

The equalizer, the radical egalitarian, humanizer

 

Just set up a “Welcome” sign.

Hospitality, requires, has to invite “Radical”

A radical change in the gripe of Culture.

All the marginalized, all the oppressed,

Want to know they are welcomed for who they are

Given space, affirmation to come into their full being,

full potential to fly!

 

Avoid discomfort.

So sorry, not sorry.

Discomfort is a powerful teacher.

The ONLY time change can happen.

Comfort restricts, maintains peace for me, not you

Or the oppressed.

Guilt, shame, painful indicators

Something amiss, something gone wrong

Check the interior dear one, then set aside, invite compassion,

ask what is going on inside the heart?

 

Vulnerability is weakness.

This is a big one.

Flexibility brings strength.

History, personal experience,

truth speakers remind us again, and again.

Strength is built upon true self-love and acceptance,

Celebration of our essential being!!!

Vulnerable is open door to connection with you.

 

One last unlearning (for this moment):

 

Outrage is the end point.

Outrage is only a beginning

A point of transformation.

A tipping point in a long journey.

 

I can show you my outrage my dear people.

I can show you my anger and pain.

I can preach strong, angry words, filled with images

Crushed ideas, lives destroyed

Communities burning

Bodies on the ground, suffocating, suffocating

Under, always, under brutal, ancient myths

Written by the empty and hungry, desperate for human connection.

In the hall of mirrors, they see only their image.

Empty, hungry vessels.

Grasping power over, always over, they claim

Their story as the best, the only story,

Leads only to narratives of addiction and brokenness.

 

I am unlearning my friends.  I am unlearning so much

And it never stops.

Nor should it, not for me, and not for you.

 

I know you’re not asking why.

May be doubting.

Can I risk?

Can you risk?

Isn’t this something to fear?

Loss of self, loss of individuality?

Loss of rights?

Loss of safety?

All myths my friend.

 

I know I will find myself, in you.

I will find the universe, holy and precious.

Sacred space we hold, sacred connection.

 

This is the very essence of the universe.

The web of life.

I cannot, we cannot exist without each other.

Radical hospitality needs to happen

Because we’ve severed our connections.

Someone, many someone’s taught us,

Early in life, perhaps in our very DNA,

We are not worthy, not good enough.

Cultural messages, body language,

Patronizing tones from well-meaning, good folx

Pale skinned men taking our bodies, putting value on them

Severed our sacred connections

And we believed them!!

 

Unlearn this my people.

Unlearn the myths,

Unlearn the lies

Unlearn the millions of hidden, in plain sight,

And the lauded stories

That told you were less than beautiful.

Unlearn that you are not powerful!

Feel outrage, sure, anger, yes, pain, yes!

Feel the discomfort!

Tap into your deepest heart, find courage.

Courage to continue this unfolding of life,

Courage to stay in the struggle, we have traveled far!

We have a long way to go,

We have lives to save, mouths to feed and bodies to house.

 

Unlearn that you, sitting in comfortable homes,

Food in your cupboard,

Have no power!

Unlearn this!

You can challenge the myths that perpetuate suffering.

You can speak, find family, friends, stranger

Speak, act, give your voice!

Care to act!

Oppression must end,

End now, end today.

 

For all the Zoey’s in our lives.

We must emerge out of our unknowing.

 

Our love must reach out!!  Must reach out toward all, until there is no “other.”

 

May it be so. amen