opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cosmic Christ

Cosmic Christ Sunday

Christ the King Sunday also known as Cosmic Christ marks the end of the liturgical calendar, the last Sunday before Advent. It was this past Sunday. Every year on Cosmic Christ we remember all those that have gone before us. In particular at Sacred Heart we remember those who have been murdered in the City of Camden during the past year. The sanctuary is full of a thick silence, and full with the family members of those whose lives were cut short by violence, coming and communing among us in the pews to remember and to grieve.

One by one each of the names are called, and a family member walks to the front carrying a candle to be lit from the pascal candle until they stand surrounding the inside of the sanctuary. This year there were 38 people holding candles, standing in the place of their murdered family in Camden. Surrounding us, like shadows, with a parish of broken hearts, bringing together all the lonely dark alleys, dumpsters, and abandoned lots into our holy place and light. Many of these families have no closure, and we sit together in the unknown.

This past Cosmic Christ Sunday we also participated in an Environmental Justice Reality Tour around the neighborhood, the places and stories of violence done to the land and our lungs in Camden. On this walk we discuss the geography of pollution and it's interconnectivity with issues of gender, race, and class, the dumping on the poor. We discuss the systemic injustices that create places like Camden so close to some of the region’s most affluent. We walk around the neighborhood and lament the murdered land, and the way the factories shed their pollutants into the air. We talk about the history of industrial collapse and the ways in which the war based economy declares war on the land, continuously. The violence on the land and the violence to our bodies is the same.

From America's Most Dangerous City



Name Age Date of Death Cause of Death

1. Rashon Graham 33 12-08-09 Gunshot

2. Marcus Corbett 33 12-13-09 Gunshot

3. Rashan Brown 24 12-14-09 Gunshot

4. Brian Gaither 38 12-30-09 Gunshot

5. Nakeith Selby 31 01-01-10 Gunshot

6. Lemuel Robinson 22 01-14-10 Gunshot

7. Jamal Burgess 33 01-20-10 Gunshot

8. Maurice Crowley 35 01-26-10 Gunshot

9. Kathyleen Trimble 35 02-09-10 Strangled

10. Muriah Huff 18 02-25-10 Beaten/Strangled

11. Michael Hawkins 23 02-25-10 Beaten/Gunshot

12. Anthony Ross 16 03-07-10 Gunshot

13. Jamil Burks 23 04-25-10 Gunshot

14. Simere Peoples 20 04-27-10 Gunshot

15. Brandon Robinson 22 05-01-10 Gunshot

16. Eric Laws 31 05-30-10 Gunshot

17. Eric Cabrera 18 05-31-10 Gunshot

18. Avner Daniels 32 06-05-10 Gunshot

19. Geovany Vasquez 32 06-11-10 Gunshot

20. Dajuan Calloway 26 06-16-10 Gunshot

21. Seneca Brown 31 06-27-10 Gunshot

22. Kevin Archie 50 06-30-10 Gunshot

23. Lawanda Strickland 31 07-10-10 Strangled

24. Kory Johnson 18 08-01-10 Gunshot

25. Daryn Kelly 26 08-03-10 Gunshot

26. Joshua Mendoza 33 08-09-10 Gunshot

27. Usama Eason 25 08-09-10 Gunshot

28. Julius Davis 47 08-20-10 Gunshot

29. Bryasia Pitts 16 09-10-10 Gunshot

30. Earl Clary 29 09-27-10 Gunshot

31. Tyree Thomas 24 10-01-10 Gunshot

32. Bernadette Teamoh 29 10-01-10 Stabbing

33. Marcell Young 25 10-26-10 Gunshot

34. Antonio Harvey 23 10-30-10 Gunshot

35. Tyree Strickland 20 10-31-10 Gunshot

36. Lou Lytle 36 11-02-10 Stabbing

37. David Bolding 57 11-15-10 Gunshot

— ————————— — —————— ————————

38. Julio Arroyo, Jr. 24 11-19-10 Gunshot

It's rather terribly sad. overcome by sorrow. and waiting. to be carried. Yet we find hope in the healing waters of lament of the broken bodies, birthing new life through the pains of labor, journeying into the expectation of life conceived during advent.

Eternal rest grant to them, O God, and may

perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in

peace! May God help the city of Camden and

change the hearts of the powerful who oppress it!

this article was published here in Jesus Radicals.


Vincent said...

Thank you for this extraordinary memorial. Reading this from Australia, I come to realise how the reality of life for people in different parts of the world is so different. We know here about how defiantly many within the US cleave to the freedom to carry firearms, but your litany for the slain of Camden - just one small suburb in a large city - is a moving reminder of the deep pain that sears the lives of so many while so many others pursue their own comforts and gains.

May the light of the Holy Spirit continue to strengthen, protect and guide your group in your ongoing work.

The Edge Columns said...

Wow. Sad and shocking. With Vincent on this from a Canadian perspective. Best, and Happy Thanksgiving (no irony intended). -G.