Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Friday: Listening, Acting in Solidarity and Giving Thanks

Walking in silence in a short loop through downtown Albuquerque, a few dozen pilgrims (more than 50, but not quite 100) prayed, meditated and mostly listened as we participated in the Urban Way of the Cross.

As I child, I was taught that Good Friday was a time to be sad and not indulge.  Fasting was encouraged, if not required.  But how could not one indulge in the beauty of a sunny, mild day?  Are we supposed to ignore the gift that our Creator was giving us today?  So when I went for my blessing and anointing at the end of my walk, all I asked was for a prayer of Thanksgiving.

But prayer is not only about strengthening that personal connection with God.  In our busy lives, we fail to see that our Creator is always there.  As God commanded us, our love (like our prayers) must not be only a two-way street.  We must be aware of those around us.  So in my personal conversation with God, there was only one word: Listen!  God was urging me (and every fellow pilgrim) to use our  senses to see and hear.  

That's what the Urban Way of the Cross, organized  by an ecumenical group of ministers and lay people, was all about on this Good Friday in 2013.  How are we relating to those around us, especially those who do not enjoy the same material prvileges and comforts that our political and economic system affords us?

This morning, some of the words we  heard included  Isaiah 58: 6-11 (charity and justice both needed to address food insecurity); Matthew 8:18-20 (everyone needs shelter),  Matthew 5:1-12 (stepping outside ourselves to show compassion and seek justice); Leviticus 19:33-34 (fair treatment of the immigrant in our land),  Luke 23:26-27 (carrying the cross for those without a home); Luke 24:50-53 (embracing those near the end of life) and  Matthew 19:13-15  (caring for our children).

Here is a video from the pilrimage, with Rene Ronquillo talking about immigrant rights and reading from the reflection I am the Immigrant.

Below are links to videos from a couple of the other stations.

Paul Frederick, S.J. who coordinates Immaculate Conception Catholic Church's Sunday weekly afternoon meal for homeless people in Albuquerque, speaks about hospitality and relates the story of one of the clients he met.  Click here to view on YouTube

Rev. Greg Henneman talks about how the City of Albuquerque wants to remove homeless people from the Fourth Street Mall (and how homeless people in general are treated  in our city)  Click here to see video on YouTube

And here are more photographs from the Urban Way of the Cross.


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