Order, Disorder, and Reorder: A Reflection by Randy Gamble

Happy 2024 to all of our St. Patrick community and beyond! We are starting a faith encouragement series wherein community members share reflections on the weekly readings, feast days, and more. We
are excited to continue this series with a piece by the Randy Gamble.
I was thinking about “Reflection” several weeks ago, which I had shared with the Adult Faith Formation group that gathers at St. Patrick at 9:45. I’m glad to participate in this gathering, since it’s making me feel a real sense of a faith community. I mention this because I wanted to hear some stories of parishioners who participate in the Sunday by Sunday, B.A.M. (Black Authors Matter), and Say Their Names. I was reading Fr. Richard Rohr’s writing on Faith & Resilience, and I like what he says,
“We must be moved from order to disorder and then ultimately to reorder.”
Then, I got a call from Angelica about writing up something for the bulletin this coming Sunday based on the readings, one of which is Psalm 85:8 (if today you hear his voice harden not your heart). This stood out to me. I have been attending St. Patrick off and on for almost 27 years, I left three times and the Lord called me back for some reason. I’m like Peter stubborn and Jonah resistance, but God kept moving and eventually I said Yes.
I didn’t want to be anxious (1 Cor 7:32-35 ) about what to write up for my reflection, but I remembered the words in the scripture of Philippines 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This quote made me think of the gospel of Mark 1:21-25, when Jesus was teaching, healing the man with the unclean spirit at the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath. I do a lot of research around racial justice with the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis (www.lynchingsitesmem.org). I take my time in looking at the historical content and context, since I seek the Truth. When I read scripture it’s really reading me, since I like to go deeper into what its meaning is. It’s like reading a story in the newspaper, but going behind the scenes. For this reason, I like going to plays, since it’s about people, places, and periods. When thinking about the scripture, like a play, I thought about the scenes that unfolded in this passage and the questions it raises for me, which was the following; Capernaum (What was the village like on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee?), Disciples (Were they the ones that Jesus ask to follow him in Mark 1:21-25 and their witnessing?), Synagogue (Was there a reason why Jesus did what he did on the sabbath?), Jewish (Who were the people at the synagogue?), Man (Who was this person with the unclean spirit and what happened to him after he was healed?), Impact (How was the Region of Galilee affected by Jesus’ presence and power?).
All these questions made me go back to what Fr. Rohr wrote about order, disorder, and reorder, because I believe something changes at those moments. When I read the scripture in Deuteronomy 18:15-20 about Moses speaking to the people, it made me think of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the song “Go Down Moses.” It was the speech “The Mountaintop” he gave at Mason Temple on April 4, 1968, which caused a sea of change for Memphis and the world. I close with a song that I woke up with this morning with, which is “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40: 3-5) and the book that Rev. King wrote called “Where Do we go from here, chaos or community” This is my reflection from reading and responding to the challenges (struggles) and gladness (joyfulness) that St. Patrick bring to the table of grace and mercy and also face with in this New Year. Amen

The Lynching Sites Project is part of a growing network of people who want the whole and accurate truth to be told about the history of Shelby County. We believe that we can heal and grow in understanding when we face openly the history of racial violence in our community. In this work, we join with the national effort of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative to memorialize over 4,000 known lynchings between 1877 and 1950.
For more information, visit https://lynchingsitesmem.org/.

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