Friday, June 26 2020
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last week, Bishop Wolf preached that she has hope that we can overcome racism in America. I have hope that we can overcome racism, sexism, and homophobia. The reason that I believe this is that Jesus calls every Christian not just to welcome their neighbor, but to love them as God loves you. This call comes from our creator in heaven, who sent his only Son to be a model of love in the flesh. God empowers each of us through the Holy Spirit to see the world in a new way. I want you to reimagine church and reimagine racism from the perspective of the way of love.
My brother was playing golf with me the other day and I said something stupid. He said that I often have strong opinions and that nothing anyone could say would change the way I think. Well, this pandemic and the actions of the police around the country have opened my eyes. I admittedly did not agree with Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the flag that so many died for, but I am rethinking my worldview now. While I did not support his methods, I do support his cause. Maybe we all need to suck up our selfish pride and take a knee with the folks at Black Lives Matter. I will personally never disrespect the flag, but the issue is not patriotism, it is racism. The truth is that Jesus came in the flesh so that everyone might have abundant life. The fact is that we as a nation need to make some changes. We need to respect the dignity of every person that enters our church and welcome them with open hearts and an open mind.
In the second quarter of 2019, the top 1% of households and nonprofit organizations held 32.4% of all net worth in the United States. During the same period, the lower 50% of households and nonprofit organizations held 1.9% of all net worth in the United States. This has become not only a problem in terms of fairness to all of us but is exasperated by systematic racism. The median African American has a net worth of $11,000 and the top 1% have an average $42,000,000 in net worth. This disparity has led to issues in health care, education, housing and opportunity.
There is a lot of anger, hurt and confusion in the world because of all the inequity. We have had to reevaluate what is essential in our lives. Richard Rohr says that we need to reclaim Jesus and find the deeper ground of self. In returning to God, we can reevaluate our world view. Please join our Sacred Ground folks in committing to racial reconciliation in our church, our town, our country, and the world. Think about how you can turn to the essential and walk in the way of love. Julian of Norwich said that love was the purpose of Jesus. I urge you to follow the way of love by reconnecting with Jesus, taking care of those who are in need, and striving for justice. Richard Rohr says that in order to to adjust our worldview, we must live our way into a new way of thinking. Let us spend the rest of our lives following the love of Jesus.
In Christ’s love,
Friday, June 19 2020
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Saturday, June 13 2020
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP Good Friday)
Bishop Robert Wright said that justice is love overthrowing everything that is not love. In fact, God works through the church to raise up those things that are cast down and to raise up those things which had grown old. It is difficult to read the realities that lie behind the curves ahead, but we go forth in the conviction that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the days to come, as we experience unparalleled change.
During this time of separation from the Holy Eucharist and from human contact, from our friends and family, many of you have drawn closer to God through Morning Prayer, reading scripture, prayers, service to others, and staying in contact with others through social media. But human contact is a necessary part of our existence and we long for the day that we will be together again with our family and friends at St. Johns.
Bishop Provenzano has appointed a task force to help us plan a safe resumption of our liturgy at St. John's. We have received their guidelines and are ready to plan an opening date for services at St. John's. This will not be an easy task. We have already seen a resurgence of Covid19 when people get back together again. We will need to have our own task force and I hope you will prayerfully consider being a part of it. This week, we will send out a survey for your preferences in opening the church. I ask that you put the safety of others as our top priority. Because of this, the Diocesan task force has asked that their be no celebration of the Eucharist and no live singing by the congregation in phase two. Maybe we could continue our Eucharist at 10:00 with music on zoom and Facebook Live for a few more weeks and offer Morning Prayer on Sundays. The St. John's task force will interpret the data from the survey and create safety guidelines for opening back up. As we reach the fourth stages of opening up, we will resume the Eucharist and live singing in church.
One of the real benefits of this pandemic has been our ability to pray together through social media. I urge you to join us for morning prayer or Sunday services. Alex has done a marvelous job with Leslie, Ken, Noelle, and George at recording your favorite hymns. Alex and Christine have offered concerts every Sunday at 11:30 that have raised over 15,000 to help those in need in our community.
We have hired three tech interns to support St. John's ministry through Technology. They are here to help you worship and connect through technology at St. John's. Samantha Burns, Jennifer Low, and Jack Glicker are producing a podcast called, "Spirituality on Tap" for young people and youth. In these weekly discussions they will address different topics of importance to a diverse group of young people, interviewing guests and experts to explore those things that are on the hearts and minds of the youth today. Next week, they will tackle racial reconciliation through interviews from our Sacred Ground folks. To listen to this week’s audio podcast on their experience with Covid19, click on the Sound Cloud link:
Equipment - If you are need of a device to participate in online services and meeting, please let us know.
Support - If you have difficulty joining any online service or meeting and you would like some help, give the Parish Office a call at 631-427-1752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our interns will give you a call back to help you resolve the issue.
In Christ's Love,
Friday, June 05 2020