THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME — Year C

Alternate Second Reading: Barbara Brown Taylor

A reading from Barbara Brown Taylor

A couple of years ago I decided to use public transportation whenever I could.
It was an environmental commitment, at that point;
I had not really thought about the social consequences, most of which became clear to me the first time I boarded a Greyhound bus for Augusta.
I was the only middle-class white lady aboard that day, and while I settled myself in my seat with my Walkman and my theological journals,
my fellow passengers greeted each other loudly and started spreading their belongings around.

Once we got underway, it was like a block party on wheels.
People asked each other their names and tried to figure out if they knew any of the same people in Augusta.
They passed fried chicken around and fell asleep on each other’s shoulders.
They held each other’s screaming babies and traded stories that made them howl with laughter,
while the middle-class white lady, sitting up front all by herself, turned up the volume on her Walkman and read about the kingdom of God.

God has given us another way, a way as old as Isaiah and as up-to-date as the evening news.
We can surrender our illusions of separateness, of safety and superiority.
We can leave our various sanctuaries and seek God where God may be found, gathering in the streets—or in the Greyhound bus station—
to figure out how to untie the fancy knots of injustice and how to take the yokes of oppression apart.
We can pool our resources so that the hungry have bread and the homeless have houses and the naked have something to cover their shame.
Above all, we can learn to claim our own kin, asking them what their names are, telling them our own, and refusing to hide from them anymore.

A reading from Gospel Medicine by Barbara Brown Taylor;

Rowman and Littlefield Publishers; 1995; p 77