At Garden Church every Sunday our Prayer of Confession begins:
Holy and Merciful God, we acknowledge that we are on the homeland of the Tongva people,and in the Dominguez watershed.
A couple weeks ago I read a report in the LA Times outlining what is known about the causes of the nauseating stench from the Dominguez Channel that sickened so many residents of Carson and surrounding communities. That story, taken together with the history of the Dominquez Watershed, is a vivid and close-to-home example of the ways that creation justice, racial justice, and economic justice intersect in a system that allows corporate interests to treat some communities as less worthy of a healthy environment than others. It is, I am sorry to say, a textbook case of environmental racism.
I going to entitle the sermon this Sunday "Daylighting." In coastal Southern California before industrial development the rivers and their tributary streams were largely seasonal and could take different courses in successive rainy seasons. As the region developed the rivers were channelized and and many of the tributaries were not only channelized but also covered up with concrete and asphalt as well, essentially reducing them to an invisible, underground drainage system.
Daylighting is the practice of removing the covering from a former streambed, restoring an earthen bottom, letting the water flow above ground, and letting plants grow once more.
Daylighting well names what the Lenten practice of repentance calls for. In John 3:17 we hear God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Rather, it is we who condemn ourselves if we have loved darkness rather than light because [our] deeds were evil [John 3:19] -- that is, if we choose not to know, or worse, pretend not to know, the injustices we have committed.
It is an oft-repeated Swedenborgian principle that evils first have to become visible before they can be addressed and overcome. We could all benefit this Lenten season from some daylighting, both personal and collective. It may be painful at first, but it brings with it a promise of a renewed and fuller life.
Join us this Sunday as we let the light shine!
Keep on Growing,
3pm Work Together
5pm Eat together grab and go style format
All Are Welcome
Come as you are, stay as you are able.