The most wonderful thing about our U2 Agape Service is that so many people from different faith traditions and from different generations came together on this Saturday evening (September 22) in the spirit of the Irish rock band U2 to declare our commitment to the effort to end global poverty, hunger and disease via the Millennium Development Goals.
There were Episcopalians and Roman Catholics and Lutherans and many people who are spiritual but not necessarily affiliated with any organized religious group. And there were children, youth, college students and people in their 40s and 50s and residents of Albuquerque and Santa Fe and Algodones...For an evening, we cast aside our affiliations and became one. As Father Tom Jackson, pastor at Aquinas Newman Center, said in his final blessing (and I paraphrase), " even though we are not the same, we are still one.
The lyrics of the U2 song One say it well. One blood...One life...You got to do what you should...One life...With each other...Sisters... Brothers...One life...But we're not the same...We get to...Carry each other...Carry each other...
Other U2 songs fit like a glove with the images of the powerpoint that Christina Vehar, a member of Luther House, had so skillfully put together: Crumbs from Your Table; I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For; Pride; 40; Sunday Bloody Sunday, Yahweh...
(In the above picture, Father Tom Jackson shares bread with local ONE volunteer Laura Casselman) Click here for pictures from the U2 Agape ServiceThe sermon was delivered by Jude Fournier, director of religious education at Newman Center, who spoke about his experiences working with victims of Hurricane Mitch in Central America, and also with villagers in Malawi for the past two summers. Jude related a touching story of his encounter of young refugee mother along the Nicaragua-Honduras border who had just lost her child. In the village of Chibanzi, Malawi, Jude had the opportunity to work alongside remarkable people who minister to people suffering with AIDS and their families. One Presbyterian minister shared him that on average he presides over ten funerals per day. Jude was touched by the words above the minister's Prayer House.
"First, dear child you must die to yourself and then you shall know the unimaginable joy of walking out of the tomb."Perhaps some members of the congregation present at the service that night have had similar experiences as Jude or will soon find themselves with such opportunities. Regardless of our path in life, there is one saying at the entrance of another Prayer House in Chibanzi that applies to our work.
"The unfinished task before us is no greater than the unlimited power of God behind us."