Sunday, January 03, 2010

Immigration and Epiphany: A Sunday Meditation

NOTE: The following is an introduction I wrote for a reflection delivered at mass today at the Church of St. Philip in North Minneapolis. My husband and another parishioner were asked to speak as immigrants in this country, and share from their perspectives about what it has meant to journey beyond their places of birth, in the hopes of resettling and making a better life for themselves. Because Francois had to work, he asked that I deliver his narrative in his stead. We followed fellow parishioner, John Allagh, from Nigeria. John spoke beautifully of the Bible as "Immigration/ Migration Handbook," and challenged us all to consider how we are immigrants, on a journey. On this day, I fell in love all over again with my faith community and the large spirit of love, awareness, culture, diversity, justice and injustice that play out in the world and local community. I was moved deeply by and reminded that we are a people of radical hospitality and welcoming at CSP, striving to realize and celebrate our common humanity.

Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Homiletic Reflection

It’s powerful to hear people’s stories - their first person account or witness of their lives. As a former English teacher, and writer myself, my livelihood is wrapped up in narratives. I can’t think of a more incredible privilege, too, than listening to a person reflect on what they have encountered, and how they make sense of their journeys. Last week at St. Philip's we had Cece Ryan offering her first person account and meditation on questions of the Holy Family, and this week, we have the awesome privilege of hearing John Allagh, and a tale from my husband, Francois Kiemde.

As Fr. Jules has said, "Today’s service is dedicated to Immigration." Stories of people going on journeys, crossing borders and oceans in the hope and desire of resettling, of a making a better life for themselves somewhere else, and realizing their dreams…..

Today is also the Feast of the Epiphany. Of wise men encountering and recognizing the Christ Child in their midst.

As a contemplative person, I wonder,

“How do the two intersect? What does it mean to be an immigrant? What does it mean to experience the epiphany? Or to have an epiphany? How can hearing stories and reflecting on journeys trigger insight? Expand our minds and hearts to fuller knowledge of Christ in our midst?”

These are my questions as I close out today’s homiletic reflection time and space with my husband, Francois Kiemde’s story. As I read you his reflection, I invite you to consider your own tale of crossing borders, of seeking experiences and being a person of hope and opportunity, someone likewise recognizing the Divine in their midst…

Note: For a copy of Francois' narrative, please email us.


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