They asked him what was its mission statement. He said, "To preach good news to low-income people everywhere."
They asked him what his vision was. He said, "To liberate the oppressed. To release nonviolent offenders to community courts. To bring restorative justice for the felons, so they can seek forgiveness from the people they've hurt. To fill the food banks everywhere, so no one goes hungry. And to accompany the elderly, so no one has to die alone."
A group of them said, "We want in! Sign us up." So they formed the Board of Directors.
They went out holding community meetings and bringing their vision around to different neighborhoods. They were having great success, and crowds of people were coming. So they decided to have a board retreat.
"We need a strategic plan," they said.
"I've got one," he said, "and it goes like this:
- Say good things to the poor and the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kin(g)dom of heaven.
- Say good things to the sorrowful,
for they shall find consolation.
- Say good things to the gentle,
for they shall possess the earth.
- Say good things to those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail,
for they shall be filled.
- Say good things to the merciful,
for they shall be shown mercy.
- Say good things to the pure in heart whose inner light burns bright,
for they shall see God.
- Say good things to the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
- Say good things to the people who are persecuted by the system
for doing the right thing,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And when he was finished, the retreat was over, and they put together a big meal and invited the neighborhood, because they knew the first principle of community organizing is to have good food. And everyone sat down together and broke bread. And it was good. The moment had arrived.
vocal ministry more or less as delivered at SF Meeting, 7/27/08