It’s scenes like this that make living in another culture so interesting. What on earth is this man doing? At first as I approached I thought he was using a meat cleaver to cut up some sort of food—and I wondered why he would be doing that out on the curb, but then I found that he was wielding a big rock to mash or cut up whatever the brown stuff is. And what is that brown stuff? Some sort of food? A root to be used for medicine? Some kind of nut with a hull to be knocked off? Petrified dog poop? I have no idea what is going on here although it may have been perfectly obvious to a local.
Today is Pentecost Sunday for Christians. Last week on the day of the Ascension, Jesus handed over his mission to the apostles before ascending into heaven. Today Jesus imparts his Spirit to guide and strengthen the apostles in their mission to the ends of the earth.
The Khmer culture attends to the spirits also.
In the pictures above, a dental assistant at a dentist’s office first says a prayer, holding sticks of incense (L), and then she puts the incense (M) in the shrine on the right side of the entrance. Then she puts more incense in the holder to the left of doorway.
An excerpt from a statement by the heads of seven committees of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops:
We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of DETERMINED CONVERSION.
Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.
“Determined conversion” could work….
You don’t see many safe companies in most U.S. cities but they are not uncommon here. The main reason is that people don’t trust banks so they keep their money in a box under the bed if they are a family, or in a safe if they are a business. Banks are more stable now but many of them have failed in the years that I have been here.
From the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Missouri, Deon K. Johnson:
The work of the church is essential.
The work of caring for the lonely, the marginalized, and the oppressed is essential.
The work of speaking truth to power and seeking justice is essential.
The work of being a loving, liberating, and life giving presence in the world is essential.
The work of welcoming the stranger, the refugee and the undocumented is essential.
The work of reconciliation and healing and caring is essential.
The church does not need to “open” because the church never “closed”. We who make up the Body of Christ, the church, love God and our neighbors and ourselves so much that we will stay away from our buildings until it is safe.
We are the church.