At our ministers' lectionary session today, we didn't spend much time on the upcoming lectionary reading. Instead, we spent our hour together talking about local civic matters---the lack of affordable housing on the island, our homeless population, the problems with ferry transportation which have the potential to cripple the local economy.
I've been struggling with this Sunday's sermon, which is entitled "Twelfth Night Epiphanies", linking both the paganish celebration of Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) and the Feast of Epiphany in traditional liturgical bodies and coming up with a collection of trivia that didn't seem to be going anywhere.
But during our conversation in the lectionary group, I had an epiphany of my own. This community desperately needs affordable housing for our work force, the women and men who teach in our schools, who cut our hair, who build boats and houses and churches and manage to bring in just enough income to survive---unless they live in a house whose rent or mortgage payment is beyond their means. We have a number of homeless people who live in cars or in dark corners of the forest and scavenge a living with odd jobs and other means.
What if our congregations (today the Methodists, Lutherans, House of Prayer, UUs, and Quakers were represented) combined our resources, wrote for grants, and inveigled the other congregations on the island to pitch in, and set up units of affordable housing? When I broached the idea, it seemed like a pipe dream at first, but I think we could do it.
It would take time and energy and money, but I can envision an agency run by representatives of many congregations which would oversee the units, keep maintenance current, police the development so that it was safe and livable, and offer an example of religious folk working together despite their theological differences.
That's a dream I have, that evangelical Christians, mainline Christians, Jews, UUs, and anyone else interested can come together to serve a common cause, letting our differences be less important than our mission to serve our community.
Wouldn't that be exciting? After the meeting, I found I had a lot of ideas for the sermon and it's just about done now!