Marvin Repinski: The unity that comes from sharing

Published 5:15 pm Friday, September 23, 2022

At what level do we find ourselves sharing; finding a way of life where there is unity? In reading the text I’ve chosen, I resonate with its positive statement. But, and I place the “but,” straight to the experience of so many people! The “if” is open to discussion questions. Do I, do you, share in this kind of world? Suffer together? Being honored together?

In the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II these past days, great numbers of people lined the streets and avenues for miles. The outpouring of gratitude was/is a rarity in the past six decades. However, a bit of news nearly hidden in the back pages of papers and TV reporting did inform us of large numbers of citizens of a few African nations still living in the inequality and suffering the results of a colonial power and the leader of that power, a commonwealth that re-established its reign over parts of the world. These parts often felt and were in reality, subjugated. The rule came from Great Britain’s queen. Hard facts are a part of this world.

The colonization of people, of land areas that were often made subject to “visiting authorities,” is part of the world’s history. It’s not too late to both honor the queen, welcome a new leader, a king, and believe a fair, better world is our commitment.

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An experience that does reveal a unity, a kind of togetherness is Beth Bronson Troop, a member of a church in Pennsylvania. She has shared her participation in a women’s conference in Mozambique, in the capital city of Maputo. She has written of cooperative prayer sessions with the Mozambican women  — now new friends  — and was taken back by the common concerns. The similarities to American issues were: broken families, plight of the youth, drug addiction, domestic abuse, issues of inequality, families and friends affected by HIV, Aids, and present new diseases. Ms. Troop writes, that the Bible verse of First Corinthians serves as a reminder that despite different backgrounds, we are all members of one body. Her conviction is that for her, “we serve side by side in Christ’s name.”

In his book “Big Russ and Me,” Tim Russert, a now deceased host of radio, TV and journalism, has written a father-son reflection. A point of connection is when he would share his smile and say, “There you are!” This volume of memories is a delight that may stir the bright zones in any son or daughter.

Tim writes, “Dad taught us early on, that our name was important. He’d say, “All I’m asking  — wait, I’m not asking, I’m telling you.” Part of the undergirding foundation of this man’s life was,  — let me quote him. “Religion was everywhere in our lives  —- not just in church or in school, but at home too. There were crosses above our beds, and every evening when we came down to supper, one of us said grace. Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ Our Lord, Amen.”

A note must be made of the long undergirding of this family’s unity. “Sometimes our family drove to Father Bake’s church (actually the congregation’s church!!), Our Lady of Victory Basilica, in nearby Lackawanna. Then we’d go to a restaurant near the Bethlehem Steel plant. Lunch always ended the same way. Big Russ would declare, “Good meal” and would request the check by asking the waitress, “What’s the damage?”

The manner of unifying a community by the work, the outreach of a church is history. The church Tim attended had “a huge charitable network that eventually included an orphanage, a grammar school, an industrial high school, an infant’s home for unwed mothers, and a maternity hospital…meals for the poor.”

Some may ask, “What is happening like some of the above in our larger community?” I cite two items. In the past years, members of Christ Episcopal Church in Austin, Lori Amick and Val Krueger have volunteered and recruited team members to serve that splendid sauerkraut dinner. It’s wonderful when 600 plus dinners are served, and you know among the diners will be the Mayor Steve King. Add to that the hospitality of the kind that places our joy now and into the future.

Carter and Meg Wagner, join Belita Schindler in giving lead gifts to the Austin Area Arts Endowment. Thank you. And to the Joseph Company undergirding the arts  — they are for every age and situation  — a big hint to other organizations in the wind. Please, wind blow.

Students of every age  — like unminted gold  — reach out for our understanding and support. Even handshakes and a hello is polishing the gold. While teaching the World Religions class at Riverland Community College, a “final paper” I required, was submitted by Hussein Wehlie. The essay reads: “In order to make the world where peace and friendship exist, I believe that it is urgent for people of the world and peoples of the world to deal with each other in a positive way. By ‘positive way’, I mean, we must do justice to the particular and separate features of each religion and must be better at understanding the special character of other peoples’ lives including their beliefs and religious behavior.”