A reflection on John 11:1-45 for St. David of Wales Episcopal Church, March 26, 2023
I have a clergy friend, Chris Hoke, whom I met in grad school when we were both earning our MFAs in Creative Writing. Chris is a pastor to gang members and his ministry began by corresponding with and visiting incarcerated gang members in Skagit County where he lives. As a result of the relationships he formed, he saw profound transformation when the men left jail and were given the opportunity to learn job skills at ministry supported Underground Coffee and leave behind gang life with continued relational support.
His non-profit, Underground Ministries, has grown in the past decade and now is focused on growing the One Parish One Prisoner program, centered around the story of Lazarus as a metaphor for our prison system that entombs by incarceration. A system that often imprisons without trial, that sees people as disposable, and sentences them to live in cages nearly as lifeless as a tomb. Mass incarceration impacts our entire society, especially those whose loved ones are locked up, who grieve and mourn physical absence and the difficulty of maintaining relationships in such circumstances.
When I moved to the Puget Sound region a decade ago, I had only seen the Aurora Borealis in photos, and considered it one of those once-in-a-lifetime awe-inspiring encounters that I would only experience vicariously. But, amazingly enough, the Northern Lights can be seen in Western Washington when certain conditions are met. When visible to the naked eye, they usually look like clouds at the horizon, most often white, but brighter than usual. Using long exposure on a camera with a tripod, photographers can capture the color of this magnetic disturbance in the atmosphere that our eyes can’t. And I've now "seen the light(s)"!
I began blogging about "This or Something Better" in 2011 when my husband and I were discerning what came next in our lives, which turned out to be relocating to Puget Sound from our Native California. My older posts can be found here.