Table Turning Tuesday
It’s now the middle of Holy Week. Tonight is the Maundy Thursday service; a service that reminds us of that Last Supper that Jesus spent with his closest friends. Tomorrow is Good Friday and with it comes another service; a service that helps us remember the darkness that filled the hearts of those who loved him the most; and the sacrifice Jesus made for so many. Sunday we will celebrate the day of resurrection. It is a significant week in the life of the church. And yet, there is now another significant day that can be added to this very holy week. It takes us back a couple of days.
Table Turning Tuesday, at least for many of us, has become another essential day in Holy Week. About five years ago, Reverend John Helmiere, pastor at Valley and Mountain United Methodist Church, together with leaders in his congregation, articulated the need for a day to act on behalf of justice in the world as part of Holy Week in recognition of Jesus’ table turning actions in Jerusalem, the week leading up to the first Easter. The first Table Turning Tuesdays happened with just people from Valley and Mountain and the surrounding community in south Seattle. Pastor Laura even participated in one of these early events about housing affordability. Over the years, John’s idea has caught on. He’s led workshops at district retreats and encouraged faith leaders throughout the Northwest and beyond to bring their faith into the public sphere and participate in whatever ways they are called.
I will admit that up until now, I haven’t participated. However in my message Sunday, I mentioned that I would be participating this year. I thought about going with Rev. John and the Valley and Mountain community to the detention center to stand with new immigrants to the US. However, instead I decided to focus on something for which I have deep passion and concern. It is the opioid/opiate epidemic and the inaction that continues to allow for all too many to end up addicted or worse. So this year on Table Turning Tuesday I met with some of our more prominent political figures, many of whom have some stake in the issue. I challenged them to take more action and offered to assist them in those actions. My hope is that together, we begin to turn the tables on how we might confront this issue.
So I want to thank you for your permission to act on my convictions that this is a faith issue. I want to thank you for your support of the work that so many of us are doing together to try to address a healthcare crisis that has become a moral crisis for our community. I want to thank you for your prayers and your faith in the God who brings life and hope, even in the midst of despair and depression which are so familiar to the families involved in addiction. I want to thank you for being Easter People.