June 23 Minister Moment

I am thinking that I will end my series of minister moments this month, and perhaps others can provide reflections in July, or we can give Susie Gullixson and Tracy Brune a break during the move, and going forward – perhaps have a different format.

That gives me two more moments to reflect on Kindness, and Unkindness. For this one I want to start with unkindness. The unkindness is obvious in the news, as suddenly the nation is aware of how the USA is cruel to asylum seeking families at the Mexican border.  Of course they are cruel to individuals who try to come to the USA for asylum, but the stories of babies being taken from mothers has finally made the wider population aware of the cruelty of the “system” and the Nero-esque game of finger pointing between the Congress and the Executive Branch while human lives are thrown into turmoil.

If I were leading a protest against this situation, it would be as a lament.  I would go to the amazing Town Point Park Armed Forces Memorial and ask the dead for forgiveness.  To those who died for liberty and justice for all, I would ask for forgiveness. There is no reason for our regulations to be unmerciful, there is no reason for the enforcement to be inhuman.   The system is broken. We lament that we allowed self interest to tarnish our nation’s values. I would go and read the words to America the Beautiful… beyond the first verse, I would read The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, I would read Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech with new ears.  I would leave flowers, and remember their sacrifices. I lament what we have done with their good will.

“O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!”

My thanks this week flow freely. Sunday I received many cards and two wonderful presents. The Board of Directors of CVUU gave me a handmade chalice. Paul Moss is the artist, turned from seven different types of wood (and a non-marking cork bottom!)  I will display it prominently in my new office, and use it frequently! Thank you. The inscription says “To Rev Charlie CVUU Board 2018”.

The second gift is a full Charlie-length and Charlie-width stole created by Lauren T. Furey, presented by Worship Services Committee chair Vicki Caminer on behalf of the team. I will have the sun at my back, thanks to the collar with its ring of orange-yellow buttons, and be draped with miniature fish, and stars and sea shells and leaves. “Presented with Appreciation to Rev Charlie Dieterich by the Unitarian Church of Norfolk – Wishing you fair winds and following seas.” Thank you. Blessings to the congregation as its seas change too.

The fabric images of sea foam and beach, day and night sky, trees and earth remind me of First Landing State Park, and of Norfolk and of this poem by Max A. Kapp (hymn 4):

“I brought my spirit to the sea; I stood upon the shore.
I gazed upon infinity, I heard the waters roar.

And then there came a sense of peace, some whisper calmed my soul.
Some ancient ministry of stars had made my spirit whole.

“I brought my spirit to the trees that loomed against the sky.
I touched each wand’ring careless breeze to know if god was nigh.

And then I felt an inner flame that fiercely burned my tears.
Upright, I rose from bended knee to meet the asking years.”

The many cards from the children complete the gift – a gift of creativity and imagination.  I will miss you all. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

With much love,

Rev. Charlie