Been commuting and perambulating today, meeting up with friends old and new in familiar and beloved places.
Morning prayer on the Orange Line brought me from Jamaica Plain to downtown Boston, where I attended the 7:55 Mass at the Paulist Center. A couple of conversations on the Common with the homeless who stem for change or sell newspapers made my prayers on this feast day of the Holy Innocents more real.
Walking through the Common and the Public Garden, I made my way to Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street, where today Ecclesia Ministries was holding a Christmas party. I volunteered myself for kitchen duty, helping make pizzas, wash dishes, and serve the guests. There was so much food, so many songs, and so much spirit. If you have never joined Ecclesia on a Sunday afternoon on the Common to celebrate the Eucharist with the city's homeless, go the first chance you get. This morning and afternoon I saw the best of Ecclesia, and it brought back the best memories of my years worshipping with that community. Bar none, Ecclesia is the shining example of what it means for there to be neither male nor female, slave nor free, Jew nor Greek in Christ.
Back on the Orange Line, I hurried down to Jamaica Plain again. Browsing some stores along the way on Centre Street, I ambled over to the Unitarian Universalist church on Eliot Street. Here, there was a reception for friends and relatives of Brian Arredondo, a young man who committed suicide on Dec. 19. He was a peace activist whose brother, Alex, was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. Let no one tell you that soldiers are the only casualties of war. The grief that consumed Alex's family would ultimately claim Brian. "I am not afraid of dying. I am more afraid of what will happen to all the ones that I love if something happens to me," wrote Alex in a 2003 letter. Sadly, his words proved to be prescient. Fortunately, the power of hope overshadowed all fears and anxieties in the good company of Brian's loved ones: family, friends, ministers, and allies, including activists from Veterans for Peace and the Occupy Boston movement.
I returned to San Lorenzo Friary to catch my breath, warm up, and recite evening prayer. Now, it's on to Sol Azteca, a Mexican eatery in Brookline, to meet a friend from Boston University School of Theology for his birthday party. Onward....