Saturday, June 23, 2012

blessed are those who hunger

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.  -Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmar

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice... 
-Matthew 5:6

Hunger Walkers

I marched today. 

Not at the CME
Not at the Thompson center. 
Not outside of Fisk or Crawford

We marched. 

Thousands of us. 

For Benton House, or (in the case on many other Chicagoans) for the food pantry of our choice. 

We marched to raise funds--for our local food charities, through the Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk. 

At this particular march, which went through McCormick Place, a place (as a friend pointed out) we would have gotten shot marching through about a month ago), we noticed something. 

And, well, it bothered me. 

What we noticed is...

As far as I could tell,

There were absolutely no police present. 

In stark contrast to recent marches lead by nurses, teachers, veterans, and community groups, crying for economic justice and the lifting up of those pressed down by the system, marches littered with police with billy clubs and black suites, sporting riot gear and ready to gas,

this march of thousands (the hunger walk) was void, as far as I could tell of ANY police. 

Which, of course, makes sense. And I am not surprised. And I am glad the city is not wasting funds (or hiring officers and then not paying them) for this particular peaceful march. 

But it did strike an odd chord, none the less, for me. 

Tomorrow is John the Baptist's metaphorical birthday. We celebrate the prophet's special day, liturgically, near the longest day of the year.

In the comfort of the brightest light from the sun, the man in camel-hair is reminding us that things are still actually pretty dark--and that we are still awaiting the arrival of true light.
Police at the Chicago Teacher Union March in May
Screaming in the wilderness to the crowds
(the 90% of the folks who claimed only 10% of the regions wealth, in Jesus' time)

about mountains being lowered and valleys lifted up, 
the lowly lifted, the high brought down....

The forerunner of Christ, John, whose criticism of those in power got him his head on a platter...

Reminds us of the importance of calling for justice in an unjust world. 

[ Charity, as it is, should be a temporary vehicle headed toward justice. 
Not an opiate that prevents the actualization of it. 
It's very necessity should anger us, even as its results are comforting... ]

Soon, in the Gospels, Jesus would echo John's teachings--and act them out locally. 

Thousands joined Christ when he multiplied bread and fed the masses. 


When Jesus tipped the tables of those using religion to perpetuate the economic oppression of the poor, while the thousands he fed were waiting outside, however, those in power had him killed. 

This thought remains unfinished tonight. Sleep well, all. 

God bless all those doing God's work of charity. It is desperately and deeply needed.  

God bless those who cry out and organize for liberative justice so that one day charity will not be needed. 


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