"And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them." – Mark 10:16
Content Warning for Sexual Assault
But who will get the candles, we finally remembered to ask.
We'd created the graphics, come up with language to share that began and repeated: we believe.
We believe sexual assault is a non-partisan issue. We believe sexual assault is a criminal act. We believe there is no statute of limitation for trauma. We believe that speaking out is an act of courage. We believe that victim shaming is wrong. We believe that survivors come from all walks of life. We believe assailants come from all walks of life, they wrote.
The candlelight vigil was to precede what would surely add to the survivor's enormous trauma as she came forward even more publicly with her story. If there was nothing else we could do, we could share that we believed her, we could say something under candlelight.
Jesus blessed the little children, took them up in his arms and laid hands on them. His touch was a blessing, signifying God's connection and care and everlasting love. Jesus's touch was safe for these children.
For so many of the rest of us, touch has not been so safe.
But here's what I would say.
I believe the truth your body tells. I believe what you are too afraid or ashamed to share. I believe you deserve to be whole. I believe that God intends you to be well. I believe that Jesus' touch was never meant to authorize nonconsensual touch. I believe that you deserve to give and receive loving touch that does no harm.
We forgot the candles for our candlelight vigil. Until we remembered: Their survival is light enough for us.
Loving God, we believe in the power of your love. May the touch we receive from this day forth only be of the kind that blesses. In Jesus' name. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.
Keizer Community Food Bank
4505 River Road N
Begun in 1989, it operated out of a closet in the John Knox Social Hall. In 2007, several other local churches joined the effort and the food bank changed its name to the KEIZER COMMUNITY FOOD BANK. At John Knox we continue this ministry through donations of food, and through volunteers who stock the shelves on Wednesdays, and serve clients at the Thursday distribution. In 2017 we discerned there was a need for non-food items which are essential to running a healthy home which either can not be purchased with the SNAP cards, or are not purchased with cash donations to the Food Bank.
DECEMBER FOCUS ITEMS
Kitchen soap, detergent, cleaning products
For information on how to help, contact Jim Johnson, Operations Manager, 503-931-7612
John Knox Community Garden
“The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.”
In 2009 the John Knox Community Garden was created to:
nurture the growth of food for our gardeners, neighbors and community,
build and strengthen community
promote earth-friendly practices and sustainability through gardening.
There are twenty-four plots averaging 15’x 15’ plus seven raised bed boxes, 4’x 12’
For available space, please contact the Garden coordinator, Mary Jo Emmett at email@example.com or call 503 930-0975.
Congregations helping People (CHP) is a coalition of Salem and Keizer churches that works out of First United Methodist Church in downtown Salem to assist people with emergent financial needs. By combining our resources with others, we can help meet the needs of more people.
John Knox Presbyterian Church, 452 Cummings Lane N, P O Box 20968, Keizer OR 97307