Meet our Interim Pastor Lynda Hyland-Burris - See “Pastor” page under “About”
Last week I went for a walk in the old neighborhood where I went to elementary school. As I passed the school yard, and watched the children line up to go to their classes, I was reminded of a game we used to play during recess.
Some of us would form a circle, holding hands, facing outward. And the others would form a larger circle around the inner circle, and the inner circle would chant, “You’re out! You’re out! You can’t come in!” over and over in a taunting voice.
Then the outer circle would charge, trying to break into the inner circle. ”You’re out, you’re out, you can’t come in!”. Maybe it was just a game that started in childhood, but it has continued throughout our lives in other ways, affecting many people.
We hear it chanted to LGBTQ folks, to Latinos, Muslims. We’ve heard it chanted down through the centuries, to Jews during the Holocaust, and the programs of the medieval church, to African American slaves seeking freedom and equality; to women seeking the vote and recognition of their full human rights.
In the 1960’s, when the Civil Rights Movement was at full force, I felt a great hope for our country, our world, that we could change the world. And we did; there really was a revolution of sorts, which altered lives and offered new choices for many. Yet fifty years have passed, adn we still hear the subtle change now spread on social media, and fear spreads through our community of immigrants, of being permanently thrown out of the circle. World leaders taunt one another, too in an attempt to be the biggest bully or the biggest bluff on the playground, putting us all at risk for total destruction.
For me, it’s a come to Jesus moment, meaning that’s who I turn to in times like these: the One who stood up to authority and claimed peace for all in God’s kingdom; the One who fed the poor and healed the sick and opened his arms to the least and the last. I pray to him, and hold him as my teacher, seeking his advice on how to live my life and love God and love my neighbor. That’s all he really asked, you know.
One day on the playground at Shearer Schoool, when I was in second grade, my best friend was a girl named Louise; we called her “Weezy”. She was holding hands in the inner circle and I was in the outer circle. She knew I wasn’t very fast; I hardly ever made it into the inner circle. She looked at me, nodded her head, and I ran toward her when the charge began.
The inner circle started chanting, “You’re out, you’re out, you can’t come in!” and I charged. Weezy loosened her hand, and I was in. Immediately, the boy next to her yelled, “You do that, and everybody’s gonna get in!”
Louise smiled, and said with great delight, “Yes!” Such is the kingdom of God.