This week at Occupy Chicago seemed to find even more energy and urgency. From what I gather, the Jackson "L" stops on the Red and Blue lines were temporarily closed, right before the march from the financial district to Grant Park. Yes, the voices of this principled group are being heard, indeed.
It takes time, but this Movment's growing because Americans know that coporations are NOT people and that they should not have so much power influencing our government and rolling in profits while laying off folks. As people of faith wallking with the Beloved, we, too, know that the greed so prevalent today harms not only us as people, but all Life. It must stop.
Some might object to my participation, and that of other clergy, reasoning that we should "tend to our flocks" or our ministries, that we should not be so "partisan". They would prefer that we fulfill our duties by pacifying folks to accept their lot in life by never questioning authority. Religion has colluded in this manner for far too long, and it's time for it touch people where they are by recapturing its prophetic voice.
Jesus loves all people, but there exists absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would place himself right among the occupiers. He would certainly attempt to challenge those in power, hoping to melt their hearts of ice with the fire of compassion. He would call them to wake up. But if all attempts failed, he would continue loving them, but would shake the dust from his feet (Lk 9:5; Mt 10:14) and, yet, not be adverse to driving the moneychangers from his father's house (John 2:13-16). The world is the Creator's house and it needs cleansing.
This needed change will not happen over night, nor should it espouse violence on the side of the occupiers. It's about maintaining faith during the long haul, which will, most likely, see violence on the side of those in power as it becomes more apparent to them that those occupying are not going away.
Those of us who serve as "Protest Chaplains," as some call us, open ourselves in deep availability and spiritual presence, serving any and all whom we encounter, no matter what they believe or don't believe about God. We challenge all to remind mindful, for by such focused awareness, we literally change others, and the world. While we are part of the 99% ourselves, we live in the tension that calls us to be in but not completely of the Movment, so that we can raise prophetic voices to the occupiers when necessary and keep vigilant watch for their safety as the response to their witness gets stronger and potentially more violent.
These are deeply sacramental times, if we allow ourselves to remain completely open to them. The Holy Spirit's speaking strongly to a bold expression of compassion, justice and peace. Let us bow in humble awe to the God who makes all things new, serving as midwives to this new birth...