A season of fasting and repentance, discernment and doing
Ash Wednesday, 2014
- Bill Wylie Kellerman
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days…Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” (Luke 4: 5-8)
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly…(Isaiah 58:6-8)
“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young shall see vision, and the old shall dream dreams…: (Acts 2:17)
For Christians, Lent, the season of fasting and repentance, begins Ash Wednesday, March 5. This is a day and a season we mark personally, but also publically. We have become convinced that for the churches of Detroit and Michigan, this Lent must be a time to renounce silence, passivity, inaction, and complicity in the face of occupation by illegitimate authority.
We call ourselves and our city churches to repent, to turn again.
We look toward the passion of holy week as special time of public action
In preparation, we repent any silence, any active or tacit consent, we have given over to Corporate Occupation and Emergency Management. We commit ourselves to speaking and acting with clarity.
With our sister churches, we repent our effective indifference to the longstanding takeover of our schools, the dismantling of public education, and passively allowing the formation of an apartheid, failing school district for our city’s children. We commit ourselves to a future for our children, to reclaiming accountability and democratic control.
We also call to repentance teachers for America, lawyers and judges, bankers and corporate rulers, philanthropic agencies, governors, mayors, ex-treasurers, attorneys general and emergency managers – indeed any and all who benefit from corporate occupation at the expense of our people or otherwise fall into its sins.
As for ourselves, among others we will take such actions as the following for signs of repentance:
Enter the Lenten season as a time of listening, discernment, and action
Ask our preachers to address this occupation in the light of scripture and history
Join with others in a public fast, and we will fast, withdraw our participation, from corporate occupation.
Join the prayer warriors group who are focusing on the spiritual dimension of the occupation…(313-923-7217).
Share common liturgies and devotionals together.
Study and disseminate the Peoples’ Plan for a Sustainable Detroit ( http://www.d-rem.org/peoplesplan/ ) which offers an alternative to the structural adjustment plan for Detroit put forward in Bankruptcy court by Governor Snyder, Jones Day, and Kevyn Orr. Consider where our churches can support and implement its elements.
Support the city retirees in our congregations by joining them in the streets to defend their constitutionally guaranteed pensions.
Particitpate in educational events (such as Ecumenical Theological Seminary, March 29: 1-3pm “Scripture, Holy Week, Banks and Bankruptcy”).
Consider filing objections in bankruptcy court, as churches and parishioners, to the Detroit EM’s plan of structural adjustment – deadline and demonstration April 1.
Support the youth march for jobs April 4 (Location to be arranged)
Join in action discussions with the following groups and organizations:
Change Agent Consortium, Tuesdays 11am. Bethany Baptist, 15122 W Chicago
Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, Wednesday 6pm, 1950 Trumbull
Moratorium Now! Monday 7-9pm 5920 Second Ave.
National Action Network, Saturday 10am, Historic King Solomon, 6100 14th St.
Participate in the conversation via twitter #endcorporatocracy
Plan together for ways to act as faith community and with state and national partners during Holy Week/Passion Week