When I have the chance, I like to listen online to the Noontime Holy Eucharist at Trinity Wall Street. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of their pastors. They all have their own style; their own way of relating to the congregation and the world.
One of my favorites is Father Mark Bozzuti-Jones. He seamlessly quotes Rumi and talks about Jeremy Lin. He quietly encourages patience and wisdom, and then breaks up the Message with a joke. If there’s one word to describe him, it would be “relevant”.
I was listening yesterday to Reverend Emily Bloemker describe her evolution with the Trayvon Martin story. Casually seeing the headlines. Hearing friends start to discuss it. And then seeing the groundswell in the media and among the congregation. She eloquently reminded believers that they had an obligation to strive for righteousness, and at the same time, point out when justice had not occurred in the world. Her comments were straightforward and heartfelt.
I was interested to see National Hoodie Day trending on my Twitter feed on Sunday. Interestingly, at one point someone remarked that the more they Tweeted about it, the more followers they lost. As a longtime leader in current events and social justice, I wasn’t surprised to see Trinity’s response. On Sunday, Father Mark wore a hoodie while conducting the service, and even put the hood up at one point in a special observance.
In the last 24 hours, Father Mark hasn’t been alone. Rallies have broken out across the nation, and many people have worn a hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin’s family, including one of my favorite political analysts, Donna Brazile. Along with her picture, she tweeted, “Stand for justice, march for freedom, work for peace and reconciliation.”
In my own world, I’ve had a small taste of the intolerance which drove the Martin shooting. I have a neighbor who decided to vandalize my property since he didn’t like the height of the hedge between our yards. Yes; something that petty. When I heard the story about George Zimmerman taking matters into his own hands, I had a sense of the fear and ignorance which drives this behavior. Even with good intentions, “self-appointed” is often a bad idea. Whether it’s the guy next door who’s decided he lives in a covenant neighborhood, or someone who has created a neighborhood watch and has an idea that safety involves pulling a gun on an unarmed 17-year old with Skittles.
I can only hope that good will somehow come from this terrible situation. In the meantime, I am praying for comfort and peace for Trayvon’s family, who will be missing someone at their Easter table this year.
May everyone who is on the move protesting be encouraged by the words of South African activitist Bishop Desmond Tutu. This is the time to listen to someone who dealt with years of injustice in our contemporary world, and yet rose above it. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”