Article | July 1, 2022
Congregation Update: Happy Independence Day
Blog|The Rev Greg Kimura, Ph.D. (Cantab.)
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest.
The mixed, mainly alarming, decisions coming from SCOTUS remind us how much more we as citizens have to do, in the words of the U.S. Constitution preamble, “to form a more perfect union.” This awareness is punctuated by the recent testimony before the January 6 Committee, reminding us of that disastrous day we all watched.
These things have been on my mind as we approach the 246th birthday of our democratic republic. Sometimes I wonder: will we make it to the Semiquincentennial — the 250th — in 2026?
The words from this Sunday’s Gospel ring clear this 4th of July. The work is plentiful; those working for the kingdom are few. Pray for God to anoint more change agents, as he did in the Gospel.
For Jesus, as for us today in the U.S., there was a sense of urgency, of a mission to build a better world. Jesus commissioned 70 (in some translations 72) followers to do the work. He sent them out in pairs. He told them to travel lightly, rely on the goodwill of others, shake the dust off their sandals and move on if the good news is not received.
This is practical advice I take when it comes to fixing America.
Gather the committed group of believers in the rule of law, checks and balances, equality and justice, in the right to vote, in fair play, and freedom of choice. Search and find more of a like mind. Don’t go it alone — lean on each other because we need each other. Stay focused. Don’t waste time on those who don’t want to engage in constructive, civil dialogue. (They have opted out and, in Jesus’ words in Luke, time is too short to waste).
Always have hope.
I remember hearing the late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii call America the greatest nation on earth. This was a man who, while family members were incarcerated as enemies in their own country, fought for America in Europe in the segregated 442/100 “Go for Broke” Regimental Combat Team. He lost his arm fighting for the love of a country that didn’t love him back. When he returned to the States, a barber refused to cut his hair because of his ethnicity. He was dressed in his Army uniform.
Yet, Sen. Inouye lived to see the U.S. Government apologize for the Japanese American incarceration. He wasn’t bitter. He was proud of America. He loved it and fought for it.
“What makes America truly great,” he said, “if that when it makes mistakes, it can say sorry. It can learn from those mistakes. It can work to do better in the future.”
In this current climate, despite all the controversy and loss of rights (and potential loss of more), I believe that Sen. Inouye’s words remain true. America is still the greatest nation on earth.
Keeping it that way requires immense work. That work requires laborers. This Independence Day, my model is that of the calling of the 70. I hope that God will give us the strength to persevere. And my 4th of July prayer is that God sends more laborers into the harvest.
The Rev. Dr. Greg KimuraVice Dean of Grace Cathedral