Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.Last night about a dozen members and friends of TJMC turned out for a presentation about the Daughters of Zion Cemetery, located just north of the Oakwood Cemetery at the corner of Oak and First. This Cemetery was established in 1873 and was the place of internment for many of the economic and social elites with the African American community. And it has fallen into serious disrepair.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden,
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: make a life that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in, a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
While the effort to do something to restore this cemetery to a right and respectful state is an important project, as is the lifting up more of the "hidden history" of African American life in Charlottesville, that's not the reason for this blog.
Instead I want to lift up those members of our TJMC community who can be found, over and over again, where work needs doing and connections need to be made. I don't know if they act out this commitment to justice and community because they are Unitarian Universalists or whether they are Unitarian Universalists because of their commitment. I'm not really sure that it matters much.
What I do know, is that when we think of the ways the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church is engaged with the wider Charlottesville community we need to remember these quiet, underground ways that our values and our principles are being put into action. We need not always blow a trumpet, nor worry overly much if others see only brambles and thickets. We just need to keep showing up, and within this congregation there are some excellent models for the rest of us to follow.