Everybody’s talking at me
I don’t hear a word they’re saying
Only the echoes of my mind
~Fred Neil

I wish I could turn off the radio, TV, and computer and trust that all the stories about death, violence, and intolerance would go away if I no longer heard them. But of course that won’t happen.

So I’ve been thinking about what I could do that might go a little way toward healing the world, honoring a(nother) young black man’s memory, intervening in the cycle of deadly addictions, helping me to offer the kind of support that trans people actually want, and helping reunite children and parents on the safe side of the border.

I’ve decided that the best thing I can do right now to help in any of these situations is to listen…to listen to the voices of real people, not reporters passing along digests of those voices or statistics representing those voices.

You are invited to listen along with me.

I wrote those words to you two-and-a-half years ago as we began a sermon series in which I interviewed members of our congregation who are black, trans, recovering from addictions, and/or undocumented immigrants. Many of you told me how much you appreciated the chance to hear from people in such a personal way.

Now I’m going to revive the series with a little twist. The point of the series is still to make a commitment to listening to one another, but we’re coming from a different direction. This time I’m building the series around a greeting shared by the Zulu people of South Africa. The greeting is an invocation spoken in two parts. One part is Sikhona, which means “I am here to be seen”; and the other part is Sawubona, which means “I see you.”

Our series will be ordered like this:

Jan 15 – – “I Am Here To Be Seen”

Jan 22 – – “I Am Here To Be Heard”

Jan 29 – – “I Am Here To Be Understood”

Feb 5 – – “Why Am I Here?”

I believe deep blessings will come from time spent getting to know each other better as individuals and as members of the Body of Christ.

Always in Hope,