For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name"; and again he says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people"; and again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him"; and again Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:4-13
And if someone doesn’t blow us all up, we have to deal with gun violence at home. Listen for the cantus lamentus if you ever drive by Newtown, CT. Driving on I-84 in Connecticut over Thanksgiving, I had an eerie feeling, as if the cries of the holy innocent were still calling for justice. A song of hoplessness. Despair. Sadness.
Malala Yousafzai sings the cantus firmus. You know Malala – the teen who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Afghanistan and survivied! In a recent speech Malala said, “I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.” This is the girl who can tell the world, “I do not hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him. This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah . . . And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone.” It’s the cantus firmus. Can you hear it?
Wangari Muta Maathai sang the cantus firmus. She was an extraordinary leader, noble laureate and founder of the Green Belt movement in Kenya. She galvanized an environmental group that planted more than 30 million trees across Africa, empowered thousands of women, and passionately encouraged a new way of thinking and acting that combined democracy and sustainable development. Wangari went where no one else dared to go. She challenged authorities that few dared to challenge. She remained adamant about the full participation of women in civic and public life. Her innovative ideas around job creation through environmental restoration are found in the global development agenda of green jobs and a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.