Sermon: It’s Like Burning Fire Shut Up in my Bones

roseBy Rose Berger, preached at St. Stephen’s & The Incarnation Episcopal Church (Washington, D.C.)
June 25, 2017

Jeremiah 20:7-13, Psalm 69: 8-11, (12-17), 18-20, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39

[Piscataway people on whose land this church stands. Bishop Budde, Pastor Sam, Rev. Linda. The Beloved Community that gathers at St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation.]

The prophet Jeremiah was asked to carry out one of the most difficult tasks ever assigned to any servant of God.[1]

During the last years of the kingdom of Judah, Jeremiah was to prophesy to King and Congress that because of their sin their fragile nation would be subsumed by the Babylonian Empire and they would all forcibly removed to the capital city of Babylon. Continue reading

Sermon: Nonviolence;“Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of a neighbor” vs “Do not resist the evildoer” and “turn the other cheek”

roseBy Rose Berger
January 10, 2017, Sojourners Chapel

Leviticus 19:15-18; Matthew 5:38-48; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

Thank you to Karen and the Chapel Committee for inviting me.

Usually when I preach I like to do a deep dive into scripture that unlocks scripture’s liberating power on us here at Sojourners.

But today we’ll take a different direction. I was asked to speak specifically about the conference I attended in Rome last year on Nonviolence and Just Peace. Continue reading

Developers Are Trying to Build a Pipeline Through a Watershed. These Nuns Built a Chapel in Its Path.

unnamedBy Rose Marie BergerHeidi Thompson. Re-posted from sojo.net.

LANCASTER, Penn. — More than 500 people gathered in a hot and dusty Pennsylvania cornfield yesterday afternoon to join the Catholic sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for the dedication of a new outdoor chapel, built on land about to be seized from them by a corporate developer planning to build a natural gas pipeline.

The chapel is an outdoor arbor built by a local craftsman, Jon Telesco, and contains an altar surrounded by wooden benches. (The tradition of building “booths” in the wilderness to mark prophetic presence has a long history in biblical tradition, including the “brush arbors” used by enslaved African Americans for worship.) The sisters dedicated the sacred space on Sunday by reading from their community’s land ethic adopted in 2005. Continue reading

Welcome to the Resistance. Here’s Your Survival Guide.

rose.jpgBy Rose Marie Berger. Reposted from Sojo.net

Even during a constitutional crisis and a white nationalist assault on the executive branch of federal government, the kids still need to get to school, bills must be paid, homework done, groceries bought, clothes washed, church attended.

In addition to your regular job, you are now a full-time grassroots organizer and obstructionist, showing up for protests and rallies. You’re also trying to implement a full-time legislative strategy, calling representatives, signing petitions, encouraging others to do the same. And for some, your full-time government job or journalism job or advocacy job now requires a renewed understanding of the ethics of public service, while also developing strategies to implement or refuse unclear and possibly illegal directives.

How do you keep from flaming out? Continue reading

A Letter to Judge Wynn: Meditations on Breaking the Law

rose-berger

U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 7, 1995. Kneeling first row (left to right): Jim Wallis, Henri Nouwen, Eugene F. Rivers III, Graylan Hagler, Rose Marie Berger.

By Rose Marie Berger

If we could split ourselves
like a crack in the cement
(children’s names written when wet
a heart a flower a handprint)
like that mystical bread
(calloused hands holding up hunger
and night sweats and the one we once loved)

then we would say in our first voice: Law
and Order out of Chaos
we would listen and obey
teach our children hands up, look both ways
(pack them bubble-wrap safe
for shipping from this world to the next) Continue reading

Daniel Berrigan: Ten Commandments for the Long Haul

Berriganre-posted from http://rosemarieberger.com/

1. Call on Jesus when all else fails. Call on Him when all else succeeds (except that never happens).

2. Don’t be afraid to be afraid or appalled to be appalled. How do you think the trees feel these days, or the whales, or, for that matter, most humans?

3. Keep your soul to yourself. Soul is a possession worth paying for, they’re growing rarer. Learn from monks, they have secrets worth knowing. Continue reading

The Catholicism That Made Pope Francis Possible

dan.jpgBy Rose Marie Berger Re-posted from sojo.net.

“Violence only exists with the help of the lie!

With these words Fr. Daniel Berrigan and I sealed our fate. It was the summer 1995. August sixth. We’d been invited read at the Washington National Cathedral’s service commemorating the 50th year since the U.S. used atomic weapons on civilians in Japan.

The Cathedral was full. Western light filled the rose window. I was supposed to read an adaptation from Thomas Merton’s scathing indictment of U.S. militarism, the poem “Original Child Bomb,” and the Scriptures for the Feast of the Transfiguration (“Master, it is good that we are here”), also recognized on that day. Dan was slated to read from Soviet-resister Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize lecture and from Maximillian Kolbe, the Polish priest who exchanged his life for a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz. Continue reading