I’m not one to wear religion on my sleeve. I had enough of it shoved down my throat as a child, thank you very much. The current polarized political climate in this country doesn’t help matters, with many on one side of the aisle wearing religion as a shield but not exactly following Biblical teachings in their daily lives. So I do attend church on occasion, quietly, at a church where I feel comfortable supporting the ministry of helping the homeless, feeding the poor, and using its resources to support the people in need in our own neighborhoods.
One of the many reasons I attend this house of worship is Randy, the pastor. His first time greeting me and my skittish then-three year old correctly identified Squidward as the weird greenish-blue bundle clutched tightly to my son’s chest, and brought a bright smile to both faces. He went to high school with the drummer from my husband’s favorite metal band. An accomplished pianist, Randy’s way with words often has a musical lilt. But his voice – strong, low, alternating between soft to quietly emphasize a point and blazing with fire-and-brimstone to drive it home – and his message of inclusiveness, diversity, and love without condition are some of the major reasons I stay. I always need to hear the message he delivers, whether or not I realize it at the time.
This past Sunday, Randy was called forward by Heather, his partner in crime, to humbly explain that he had some good news: his sermon on the differing views of food as seen by Boaz, the owner of the barley fields, and Ruth, a Moabite worker, had been chosen as the winner of an international contest as part of a food justice campaign. Randy won because his words rang out as an “inspiration for individual and collective action.” While I’m thrilled that Randy gets a trip to Switzerland this fall to deliver the sermon as part of the 2011 Churches Week of Action on Food, I’m even more interested in sharing his words with you. Whether or not you share his belief system, his writing style is clear and compelling, and people of all walks of life can identify with the message. I try to remember every day that “what separates the poor from the rest of society is only the difference in where we were born and to whom, not the difference of who we are;” stories like this certainly help me do so.
UPDATE: Here’s the sermon, if you want to hear it in its entirety.