Sunday, March 21, 2010

All Will Be Well

Despite vocal protests from the religious right (see, for example, Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) characterization of the timing as an "affront to God"), I cannot think of a more fitting day than the (Christian) Sabbath for a vote on healthcare reform. In the Epistle of James, we read:

“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2: 15-16)

In the coffeehouse sermon this morning at First Parish in Lincoln, my friend and colleague Ally performed Meg Barnhouse's stirring tribute to Julian of Norwich, which features the refrain: "All will be well." Sitting in the historic meetinghouse, my mind wandered to the half-truths of that repeating mantra. All will be well - for some. Today's vote in Washington moves us one step closer to actually giving the voiceless and suffering 'things which are needed for the body.' It widens the circle of those individuals who can, with some degree of certainty, rest assured that "All manner of things will be well."

That said, so much work remains. The right to a full and healthy life should not have to be (materially) earned - and until a robust universal, single-payer system is implemented, our brothers and sisters will continue to fall through the cracks into destitution.

Following the morning service, I slipped into the Gurdwara for an hour of kirtan and langar. Overflowing with brilliant shades of majestic purples and cooling greens, the sanctuary echoed devotee Kabir's simple truism:

ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ
The true cleansing bath is service to the Guru.

No government program can replace the salvific work of inter-subjective relations - of sitting with God at the bedside of those who stare into the deep abyss of human finitude.

All will be well - together.

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