Simeon is a talker. We noticed when he was young when he would get excited; particularly when we would come home from being gone he would talk to us. Oh, for those he does not have trained yet his talking might be interpreted as a growl, but it is really talking. With TruDee’s help he even trained us to give him a treat when we ask him “What do you think,” and he makes his very gentle growling sounds. He gets more animated when I tease him about whether he wants to go outside or go for a walk. The more I tease the louder his “growl” gets. I suppose one might understand that in terms of injustice that he perceives and the longer I annoy him the more insistent he gets.
He is not one to bark very often. He has a pretty typical loud big dog bark and when he decides to use it we know there is someone at the door, or someone in the yard, passing by on the street, or next door that he does not know. Generally, it is pretty safe to say when Simeon barks we need to pay attention because something is just not right with his corner of the world.
I suppose once again there is a lesson in all of this for me and perhaps for you as well. Finding our voice is important. Knowing when to speak, how to speak, and what to speak is crucial to our survival as well as the good of our world. Our words, our tone, and our intent matter when we speak.
In my experience gentle words are generally best. Speaking in a way that is inviting and welcoming is almost always better than words that express incivility and anger. Finding our voice when we encounter injustice is just as important, perhaps beginning with gentleness but often our words and tenor must me more insistent and animated when addressing theological, social, and human rights issues that threaten safety and justice for all. And of course there are times when we must cry out loudly when there is danger and blatant denying of rights and breaking of the law.
In our society and culture today I believe there is no better time than now to stand up and be heard, to speak of our Progressive understanding of Christianity, and the numerous issues around the understanding of God, social justice, human rights, and what our Faith should be about in the world around us.
I will continue to listen to Simeon and learn better when, how, and what to say when using my voice to speak to the grace, justice, and love of the Spirit. I hope you will join us, we’ll be glad you did.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be mindful of the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church. Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.