Fish Boy is my patron saint

So, the KKK is marching in my hometown tomorrow near Monticello, Arkansas. I am ashamed….horrified…angry….disappointed….and still hopeful. (This is me working through my sermon for tomorrow by the way)… I will remain hopeful, because on days like this, our lectionary holds up this profound image of a little boy sharing his loaves and fishes. That is our text for Sunday, friends…. I can barely believe it.
Here, this image of a little boy who, we can imagine, cherishes this possession: a lunch perhaps, a bit of food to share with his family? Or, something to sell and make a bit of money? No matter how we imagine him using it, we know that it is his possession. And, he has a right to use his possession any way we chooses. That is his right.
But, look what he chooses to do: he chooses self-sacrifice. He chooses to give his possession, to look beyond his own right, his own self-interest…he gives of himself, sacrificially. He chooses the good of the community over whatever self-interested right he may hold.
Friends, this is the key. This has hit me in the heart…with the KKK marching, spewing hate. With gun violence AND a lack of awareness and concern for those struggling with mental illness (it isn’t just one quick fix after all…we know that). And, with this cartoonish absurdity of news coverage with characters…
Violence…racism….hatred….pride…egoism…. We seem surrounded. YET….pay close attention. In walks this little boy… “Fish Boy” I will call him. In walks Fish Boy, carrying a little basket… offering all that he has to God.. offering himself.
My colleagues Alan B. Cowart and Cynthia Park and I were texting…wondering what the counter movement was to all that we are experiencing.. I wondered outloud if the “counter movement” was self-sacrifice, a willingness to look beyond ourselves…to lay down our self-interests…. (recognizing that when we so often claim “rights” are we really seeking a preservation of our own self-interests, no?) Being willing to set this down… In the texts, it is called Kenosis (Phil. 2)…self-emptying… “laying down our lives for our friends”… Building a community, a spiritual community of faith grounded on Christ’s call to us… and recognizing that, oh, man, is this going to pinch with all of the assumptions of American culture!
This is the heart of an eschatological imagination…a vision, a life lived within the Eucharist…within our Baptism Covenant… “to respect the dignity of every human being.”
It really is the only way we’re going to get through, my friends…. I have come to believe this with all my heart….. And, I am still hopeful… always…because “Fish Boy” has become my patron saint.

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