“I felt my legs were praying.” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who escaped Nazi Germany and later became a prominent voice in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, spoke these words about marching in Selma alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and it is these words that inspired the title of Lindsey Krinks’ book, Praying with Our Feet: Pursuing Justice and Healing on the Streets. It’s a book of stories about Lindsey’s life and work with the homeless community of Nashville, Tennessee, and about how she encountered God through the pursuit of justice and through seeing the poor and homeless as human beings in the image of God.
The Apostle Paul tells the Christians of Rome that the life they live in their bodies is true worship. The things we do within the walls of the church, the rituals we call worship, are good and necessary. But the pinnacle of worship, the greatest offering we can give, is in our own bodies, living in the world.
In the months of November and December, we will be able to read through and discuss Praying with Our Feet as a way of strengthening this crucial aspect of our spiritual lives. We will learn about the layers of systemic obstacles that keep people in poverty as well as what it looks like to move beyond charity into justice—addressing the root causes of those things that harm God’s beloved, rather than simply tending to them after the fact. We will learn the truth of what Jesus said, that our wealth and privilege are more of a liability than an asset in our spiritual lives. And we will be inspired that real change is possible, that the presence of God among us is not simply a comforting metaphor but a visceral reality.
I look forward to discussing chapter 1, “Upstream” with you this Wednesday at 6:30pm.
Yours as always,