We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Skydiving for Justice

Among works for justice and peace, "thrill-seeking" activities don't always come to mind. However, that is exactly what came to mind last term in a discussion on social action. I was reminded of my skydiving experience a few summers ago: the rush, the sights, and the helplessness as we fell from 12,000 feet. And although works for justice and peace differ, for reasons beyond the one-piece pajama-like outfit, there is definite correlation.

Unaware, we begin our day of skydiving/justice. The true experience we prepare to endure lies beyond any of our assumptions. No expectation will live up to the actual playing-out of the events. Desire and fear lurch back and forth in a tug-of-war both encouraging and challenging us. With our intentions for company, we sit in a room of “training.” We hear this relates to an experience of prayer, tips bombarding us on best how to perform, how to maintain safety, even when control is relative. We are informed, though, that there will be help, a tandem guide, a "savior" of sorts who will be with us all along the way. We put on our suits and our glasses, much like "putting on the armor of Christ." We board the plane and we take off. Airborne, we repeat introductions to our tandem guides, now a bit more personally, as we ascend closer to our true departure. We discover ourselves amidst people who do this all day long, other people with similar thrill experiences, and some who never landed. We strap together and tarantula toward the door...the abyss stares back…and we are out of control. By straps we remain connected to control. It comes from behind...a real, invisible presence. We stand on the brink of an infinity of possibilities, the mind reels with fractions of error and miscues, absurd hilarity, vertigo, angelic views, and nerve-wracking realities. And before we can abort, we feel lurched out of the plane. The only response to whirling through molecules of air with terminal velocity is to BE...to LIVE. How? We can shut our eyelids in fear, or we can open them, take it all in, respond in loving prayer, and take that experience to the depths of our being.

Much like skydiving, when we actively and responsibly work for justice, we are bound to Christ in an inseparable way. He takes us to the brink of where we begin, where we soar through experiences like falling from the sky, and we respond in many ways. I have faith that God intends us to experience open-eyed, and just BE...LIVE. The worry whether our "parachute” will open is everything. The fear of losing control cannot hinder us from work for justice and peace. To take peace seriously begins with letting go. In the words of my tandem partner: JUMP!!!
-by Zach K.

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