The 2010 "Social Justice" trip taken by Martin Methodist College faculty, staff, and students every year over MLK Day weekend was an eye-opening if not quite life-changing experience. Life-changing would mean I follow through in a positive way to right some of the injustices we witnessed. I'm not ready to commit to that level of New Year's Resolution yet, because that would mean a New Year's ReVolution...change...real change in my actions and attitudes. I hate resolutions mainly because of my annual failure to keep any or many of these over the six decades of my life. The resolutions I'm not keeping very well so far a mere three weeks into 2010 include losing weight, exercising regularly, reading more good stuff, writing in my half-finished book, to name a few. I'm working on thinking about organizing my hours and daze to begin to commence on these resolutions. When that happens, they just may become revolutions that call for action. I'll let you know when or if that occurs. Meanwhile...
The weekend I just experienced was amazing. As part of a team of 20 from the college participating in the journey through five states, over 800 miles, and parts of four days, my eyes were indeed opened. We observed the distressing plight of some homeless in downtown St. Louis and the good a few empathizers can do to help make life just a little more bearable; the beauty of God's creation at the Missouri Botanical Gardens including the "green" steps mankind can and is taking to curb waste and destruction of our planet - at least the ducks, geese, and squirrels still seemed to be enjoying the winter season; the majesty of a man-created Arch hovering tall over Old Man River; the near chaotic bedlam (no exaggeration) of the hundreds of children of all ages scampering through the City Museum with its incredible climbs and tunnels inside and spine-chillingly outside the four-story amusement "park"; the emotional and inspirational worship services in which we participated in two states - one that seemed to actually honor the homeless through reverence to God and the second that was a celebration of the life of Dr. King, a man whose once-upon-a-time dream is still in the process of slowly becoming reality; and the marvelous ministry of a few in Evansville, Indiana, who are making such a difference in the lives of children and adults of all ages, races, and socio-economic statures at a simple place called Patchwork. What an incredible and timely journey it was.
I also witnessed just how well a diverse group of 20 can function as a unit whether traveling the seemingly endless hours in the vans; sleeping through the nights of friendly snorings; staying clean and hygienic with limited facilities; playing a little basketball or late-night card games; watching the DVD of Wally; and eating lots and lots of junk food. Fortunately, fully half of the eight pounds I gained over those four days was lost in the first 24 hours home and eating healthily again. If I can do that over the next 24-48 hours, I'll be back on track to turning my weight-loss resolution into that much sought revolution.
The inspiration I gained from this weekend wasn't limited to seeing the efforts of a few in ministering to those in need (Matthew 25:31-46) as Jesus did. It included watching some poor students dig deep to leave behind a little extra - not just some money, but also a bit of themselves - on three different occasions. Thanks to Patrick and John and the many others whose stories touched our lives. They shared their faith well in both words and actions. Let's see if we 20 can "go and do likewise."
- ▼ 2010 (26)