Grace and Peace Family,
I pray that this week finds you well, both finding time to rest during what has been a deeply trying time, and finding strength to love God, neighbor, and self. This week, I’m finding that strength in community. I think of all of the core values we uplift, community might be the one that resonates with me most deeply. We understand upholding community as a core value to mean, “Claiming a sacred place where Christ’s love unites all to support and care for others while nurturing a personal relationship with God.” One of the key words in this understanding of Community is “unites.” And how good and wonderful is it for siblings in Christ to dwell together in unity, amen? (Psalm 133) Two of the chief goals of community are unity and love; looking around at our world today, I think we would all agree that we could use more of each.
As people of faith, we are called to the work of transformation. We are called to transform the world by making disciples. We are also called to the deep, and at times, harrowing inward work of transformation. Though all of this may sound daunting, we find comfort in the fact that we don’t have to do it alone. We navigate these waters walking alongside a savior that has promised not to leave or forsake us. (Heb 13:5) We navigate these waters with our siblings in Christ. We navigate these waters in community.
Thinking specifically of the challenges of civil unrest and racial reconciliation, I am excited to be co-leading one of the two new book studies we are offering that speak directly to these complicated matters. Pastor Jenn and I are leading a study on James Cone’s, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I fell in love with this book when I read it for the first time in seminary. It provided theological language and context for things I had felt my entire life but found difficult to frame and articulate.
Along with The Cross and the Lynching Tree, there are two other opportunities to join studies on racial justice in our world: a book study on Robin Diangelo’s book, White Fragility with Pastor Jad, and Pastor Jenn’s Sisters of the Soul, where each week the group will read different portions of books, watch movies, listen to podcasts and TedTalks, and then come together to talk about what they’ve learned, how they’ve been challenged, and how to move forward better than before.
These studies are opportunities to get together and learn about what it means to create and be a part of loving and inclusive community. If you’d like to know more you can view the Ministry Guide webpage for details. The studies start this week but there is still time to register and join in.
I leave you now with this blessing from John O’ Donohue,
“And when we come to search for God, let us first be robed in night. Put on the mind of morning to feel the rush of light spread slowly inside the color and stillness of a found world.”