It’s quite the summer we’ve had. If you don’t believe in climate change, there’s nothing more to do than to simply point to the planetary heat maps, where you can see for yourself that Europe is as hot as Baghdad. You don’t have look at a map, either. We’ve had rain that didn’t clear the heat, but just made everything more muggy, and we wandered in it like stock footage from Blade Runner. And, in a preview of the new and increasing tensions that will be exacerbated if we don’t address the issue, we’ve had white supremacists hang banners in Fort Tryon Park.
If you’re like me, you probably feel disheartened every day. Disheartened meaning that your heart is bruised, or has suffered violence, or has grown weaker. Discouraged, perhaps, the removal of heart from the psyche. Perhaps you feel like life, or whatever we call this existence, has reached in and taken your heart right out of your body. You’ve felt the holes fill with despair, or worse, apathy.
We made a good decision to read James Baldwin this year for BBQ Book Club. This Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., we’re reading two essays of his this week, both short, called "Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter from Harlem” [link] and "East River, Dowtown: A Postscript to a Letter from Harlem” [link]. Both these essays are about desperation. They could be read in tandem with “Harlem,” that classic poem by Langston Hughes:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Explode—doesn’t it feel like something is gathering, that we live in the silence between the pulling of the pin and the explosion? Maybe so.
Jesus speaks to people who are also living with deferred dreams this Sunday. Or. maybe, hungry hearts. Hungry for the food that satisfies forever. Hungry for the pieces of their hearts that they have lost. Hungry for something, something more and better. So hunger we all. So come to church, and see if you can be fed.
[Next week's BBQ Book Club essay is "Fly in the Buttermilk which you can find at this[ link.]