I bring you greetings, and challenges, from Ecumenical Advocacy Days. Rev. Traci Blackmon, of the UCC, passionately reminded us, of the traditional Masai greeting – not “How are You?” but “How are the children? The question comes out of the belief that the viability of any people is rooted in how well the children are doing.
So I bring you greetings. And I ask you, How are the children when there are 64 thousand black women and girls missing in America?
How are the children of Syria facing chemical warfare and barrel bombs?
How are the children famished in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen?
How are the children who are caught up in the epidemic of gun violence in this country? Parents losing children and children losing parents?
How is Jordan Edwards, killed by a police officer as he was being driven away from a party? How are his teammates, his family? His friends? How is that police force?
How are the children when over three hundred thousand are sex trafficked nationally every year?
How are the children who are afraid their parents may be seized and detained while they are at school? How are the parents who may have to split up their family or bring their U. S. children to a land they have never known?
How are the children when in New Haven half of the at risk youth served by the Emerge CT Youth Build program have no home and are either couch surfing or sleeping in cars?
Fifty years and thirty-three days ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam at Riverside Church in New York City. That is when he confronted us with “the fierce urgency of now.” This nation’s great tragedy is that we are still compromised by our failure to declare in his words, “eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”
Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism was the theme of the recent EAD gathering. Art and Mary Hunt were also at EAD and will lead our adult ed conversation next week. I hope many of you will be there, though of course, no one event will solve our challenges.
This is the reality I see. Communities, and particularly communities of faith are the remaining resource we have protecting us from the chaos emerging all around us. The question is no longer a remote, how are those other people’s children? It is How are the children? How will they be? It is up to those of us who will be insistent and persistent and willing pray with our feet.