To vigil means to show up, be present, fully awake, fully alive, in an anticipation of something important about to happen, whether one of celebration, a hoped-for change, or a matter of life and death.
The Church Council has been holding vigils, bringing a grounded faith into the public square, for 100 years. In walking with people who have experienced marginalization, people of faith in King and South Snohomish Counties manifest new possibilities each day to challenge the dominant cultural narrative of alienation, competition, and violence, a world of winners and losers.
As we close our 100th year of the Church Council, The Together Difference, creation is groaning (Romans 8), perhaps signaling from the very depths of the earth a form of vigil in anticipation of the remaking of our world toward economic, racial, social, and climate justice.
In our collective work leaning into 2020 and beyond, we will not desist. Followers of Jesus and the prophets will continue to illuminate pathways toward justice, through entering into the depths of the human condition with humility. Our vision is that no one is excluded and no one is lost, left out, or forgotten.
I stood with people on the perimeter of Westlake Plaza, with holiday chimes and rides all about us. A man stopped in line while waiting for one of the rides to question me about why I was holding a candle in vigil, since everybody in the square and nearby mall knew all about the plight of people who were homeless. The fact that we were remembering 109 people in King County who had died this year outside while homeless or by violence would not satisfy him. Finally, I realized that there was a difference between knowing about this tragedy and recognizing it for the scandal that it is, which means having to act to do something about it.
In the end, I was standing in vigil such that we might be fully awake to the hope that in the midst of unprecedented wealth, a movement might be born in our hearts that binds people without and with homes together.
In the budding of the new year, may we not rest content until our lives, comfortable and afflicted, intertwine, our destinies meet face-to-face, and our dreams for a renewed and restored life find anchor in the Puget Sound Region. May our coming into touch with the saltiness of the water chart us on a course to the vast ocean teeming with life and life in abundance.
Thank you for buoying up the Church Council in 2019 and for all these decades of building up communities of vigilance, persistence, and love. May we continue to make a difference together in the year and years to come, with great expectations for strengthened relationships and creative collaboration.
In Faith & Gratitude,