Holy Week Actions!

Seattle2Whidbey Island (WA) based spiritual director and activist Marcia Dunigan reports that earlier in the week, she threw in with about 60 others (including small children) witnessing at a Table Turning event (right) in Seattle in front of the ICE administration building in the rain and cold. This is from the Table Turning website:

Tragically, institutional Christianity in the U.S. has become aligned with nationalism and capitalism. So the aims of Table Turning are:

  • Reclaiming the subversive tradition of Jesus in the public sphere
  • Centering marginalized voices to tell their own story and define their own identity, while interrupting a culture that allows only the powerful to be heard
  • Increasing participation in faith-based social justice activism
  • Repentance and realignment of our own lives away from oppression and toward liberation

As a holiday, Table Turning exists as a constellation of local actions occuring between Palm Sunday and Good Friday of each year. It is not meant to be the only time each year when churches participate in direct action. Rather it is meant to build a counter-narrative about religion and politics, and Christianity in particular. It’s a challenge to a faith tradition that has been seduced by incarnate capitalist brutality, to redefine itself based on incarnate liberating love.

Radical disciples and other folks of faith and conscience are gathering today at noon at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle.  It is an event called “Love Confronts Hate: A Good Friday Worship & Witness:”

We gather in the Name of Jesus, the Crucified and Risen One:
— to proclaim the Passion according to John
— to lament the suffering of all creation at the hands of imperial violence
— to share stories, songs, images and hopes
— to celebrate the Victory of Love over hate,
Life over death and Light over darkness.
Tonight, First Congregational Church of Oakland (CA) will be hosting a Good Friday gathering “7 Last Words of Black Life:”

“I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.” -Michael Brown (1996-2014)
“What are you following me for? ” -Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)
“How did switching lanes with no signal turn into this?” -Sandra Bland (1987-2015)
“I wasn’t reaching for it.” -Philando Castile (1983-2016)
“You shot me. You shot me.” -Oscar Grant (1982 – 2009)

We believe that Black people in America are the contemporary crucified life. In observance of Good Friday, we will be holding a service honoring, grieving and lamenting crucified Black Life. We will bear witness to the last words of those crucified at the hands of police brutality, racism and state sanctioned violence. This Good Friday, we will honor the final moments of Jesus’ earthly life through seven of our fallen. We will honor them through word, song and art.
Today, Dayhouse Catholic Worker and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church will host the 39th Annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross March through Detroit.  This is the station devoted to Healthcare (in front of the Meridian Building):

Chant: Listen Listen Listen to my heart’s song (2x).
            I will never forget you, I will never forsake you (2x)

Leader: Christ was pierced for our sins.
All: Christ was crushed for our offenses.

It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.  (John 18: 14)

How long will we believe the myth that universal health care isn’t feasible?
How long will transphobia, racism, xenophobia and classism inhibit access to care?
How long will America’s riches fund death rather than life?

We reject the logic of Caiaphas that even one should suffer for the good of the many.  We rise to demand health care as a human right, fully and freely available to all regardless of social location, immigration status, or ability to pay.

And we also indict the social origins of disparities in health.  We know that public health crises such Black infant mortality rates and HIV infection among queer and trans youth of color are not the product of individual risk but of systematic oppression.  We name racism, heterosexism, transphobia, housing discrimination, defunding of public services, and denial of water as health hazards for our communities.  We name these injustices as sins against the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of Detroit’s residents.

But we also ground ourselves in hope and speak a vision for a more just and equitable society.

As a pilgrim people journeying together in faith, we affirm that all shall belong within beloved community.  We are moving beyond legal employment and work requirements as a means to secure health care toward guaranteed access for all.  We are moving beyond means-tested charity toward health care as a human right.  As some look to impede the expansion of Medicaid, and rescind coverage for millions, we move in the opposite direction, toward freely available, high-quality health care for all, and a dismantling of the oppression that harms the health of our communities.

Song:  Were you there when they stripped his care away?

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