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Category: From the Heart
Posted by: an okie gardener
Last week Wednesday afternoon my wife and I headed north out of Apache for a week and a half. We had not needed to get our "papers" in order nor go to the local government functionary for permission to travel.

Near sundown that evening we drove through the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in north Oklahoma. Beautiful. We have altered much of our landscape, but, at least have the wisdom to preserve parts of it.

That night we stayed in a motel in Chanute, Kansas. A couple obviously born in India checked us in. We still keep the doors open for legal immigrants, they are a boon to our culture, our economy, our nation.

We ate supper the first night and breakfast the next morning in small-town cafes. The people, staff and customers, were friendly. The food was good. Along the way the wheat was turning, the line of harvest somewhere behind us advancing north.

The roads, overall, were excellent. Even the 30 plus miles of gravel in and around the Tall-Grass prairie were servicable. And no one checked our travel documents at the Kansas line.
Tomorrow our denominational assembly will vote on whether or not to adopt the Belhar Confession provisionally for a period of two years. After the two years we would vote on whether to adopt it as part of our church constitution. The Belhar confession comes from the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. One of our Reformed sister communions adopted this statement, that elevation of origins or differences to an absolute status is wrong and contrary to the Gospel.

Today, in large measure due to the efforts of Christian leaders in South Africa, the nation has been able to end apartheid without a bloodbath. Thanks be to God.

Sometimes things work out better than we hope. God is at work in our everyday, in the messy events of history. And sometimes we see signs of the coming kingdom.

At our denominational meeting--and we do not use quotas, each classis (local group of churches) sends delegates--I have met and talked with African Americans, immigrants from India and Taiwan and Brazil and the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, Korean-Americans, all elders or ministers of Word and Sacrament in our denomination. Thanks be to God.

Our outgoing president spoke concerning God's future, and the need to anticipate it and work for it now. He closed his remarks with a poem by Langston Hughes, written in 1940.

When I get to be a composer
I'm gonna write me some music about
Daybreak in Alabama
And I'm gonna put the purtiest songs in it
Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist
And falling out of heaven like soft dew.
I'm gonna put some tall tall trees in it
And the scent of pine needles
And the smell of red clay after rain
And long red necks
And poppy colored faces
and big brown arms
And the field daisy eyes
Of black and white black white black people
And I'm gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
And touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a composer
And write about daybreak
In Alabama.

Audacious hope in 1940, closer to reality today. Thanks be to God.