Tuesday, May 01, 2007

pilgrimage, immigration, & getting mixed up

My friends and colleagues Mark Stanger and Anna Ross are on pilgrimage in Israel/Palestine, you can read Anna's travel blog here. Mark sent an email describing the journey so far as well --- he has traveled there numerous times and is leading a large group from our church in San Francisco. Here's a portion of his message that caught my attention in light of today's numerous rallies and vigils focused on immigration:

Today was spent exploring Nazareth. One detail I never noticed was a fresco in the small Orthodox Church of the Annunciation (AKA Mary's Well) which shows the flight into Egypt. Instead of the usual image of the flight into Egypt with Joseph leading the donkey with Mary riding and holding the child Jesus, the icon writer depicts Joseph leading but with toddler Jesus riding on his shoulders.

I think it is important to remember that Jesus and his family became refugees, were immigrants. You can read the Biblical account here. As Christians this should remind us that the God we seek to honor, praise and follow has a particular concern and claims a particular solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed. Deacon Vicki Gray has posted a wonderful reflection on Jesus as immigrant over on Bishop Marc's blog.

On my way to work I put my i pod on shuffle and found myself listening to a song I downloaded a while ago when I was nostalgic about my childhood and was recalling my mother's strong interest in folk music. The song is performed by Peter, Paul and Mary and was written by Pete Seeger, its called "All Mixed Up". Here are the lyrics:

You know this language that we speak,
is part german , latin and part greek
Celtic and arabic all in a heap,
well amended by the people in the street
The Choctaw gave us the word "okay";
"vamose" is a word from Mexico way.
And all of this is a hint I suspect of what comes next.

I think that this whole world
Soon mama my whole wide world
Soon mama my whole world
Soon gonna be get mixed up.
Soon mama my whole world
Soon mama my whole wide world
Soon mama my whole world
Soon gonna be get mixed up.

I like Polish sausage, I like Spanish rice,
and pizza pie is also nice
Corn and beans from the Indians here
washed down by German beer
Marco Polo traveled by camel and pony,
he brought to Italy, the first macaroni
And you and I as well we're able,
we put it all on the table


There were no red-headed Irishmen
before the Vikings landed in Ireland
How many Romans had dark curly hair
before they brought slaves from Africa?
No race of man is completely pure,
nor is anyone's mind, that's for sure
The winds mix the dust of every land,
and so will woman and man.


This doesn't mean we will all be the same,
We'll have different faces and different names
Long live many different kinds of races
It's a difference of opinion that makes horse races
Just remember the rule about rules, brother
What could be right for one could be wrong for the other
And take a tip from La Belle France: "Viva la difference!"


The BART train I was on while listening to this great song stopped at Civic Center for an extended period of time due to an accident or something at the next station so I jumped off. In an attempt to find some way to get to work in time for Morning Prayer, I jumped on a bus heading up Polk Street. But the bus didn't go all the way up to California but started turning at Geary, so I jumped out of the bus and started trying to grab a cab. From previous experiences I knew that catching a cab on Polk Street is fairly difficult, so it is five until nine and as I watch cars zip by and attempt to wave a cab I notice all the cabs that drive by are filled with passengers. Yet a man at the stop light in front of me probably of Arab descent rolls down his window and says "you want a ride." I jumped in and he drives me to the Cathedral just in time for Morning Prayer. What a way to start the day --- also what a reminder of how much we are dependent on one another in all our diversity and complexity to get to where we need to go. Viva la difference!

The image above is from this website. I am not sure its the same one that Mark is writing about but its close.

1 comment:

marc said...

i want to repeat that the line from the p,p &m song, "no race is completely pure, nor anyone's mind, that's for sure," is quite a bold, powerful application of an outward observation, translated to the inner life