On Sunday, January 1st – New Year’s Day – I had the pleasure of leading worship. I shared one of my favorite poems by Palestinian American poet Naomi Shihab Nye. In the poem “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal,” , Nye tells the story of an immigrant at an airport terminal, confused and upset when her flight is delayed. The poet speaks to her in her own language and the woman calms down, and soon the feared stranger becomes grandmother, friend, beloved. The passengers share cookies and soft drinks while they wait for their flight, and the world is at peace.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
Our task as people of faith is to look for and to notice those moments of peace and beauty and to share the stories that disrupt the current narrative of immigrants as “other,” as objects of fear and mistrust. Our sacred task is to welcome the stranger and to offer hospitality at every opportunity.
And as Reverend Ellen reminded us in her sermon a few weeks ago, we must “be the church.” We are needed here, doing what we do: creating meaningful, uplifting worship and religious education; offering a place of rest and renewal to each other and all those who would find us (and folks are finding us – every week, I see new faces!); and living our Unitarian Universalist values in the larger world. This matters. You matter. “This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.”
In faith, Justine