Dear Glen Mar friends,
"As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:27-28).
I was listening to a podcast where an African American pastor was sharing that when he was in seminary, and he brought up the racism he was experiencing in his life, his white theologian friend said, "God doesn't care about racism." Apparently, the friend was referring to passages like this one from Galatians, that in Christ somehow, because we are One in Christ, we can all just ignore the pain, brokenness and sin of racism. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Because we are one in Christ Jesus, we are called to care for one another, and to speak out against injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, as we promise to do when we are baptized. Because we are one in Christ Jesus, we expose and reject racism, institutional or personal. Because we are one in Christ Jesus, we reach out our hand to any brother or sister who falls into the hands of looting, violence or trouble of any sort along the Jericho Road. We cannot be silent or pass by on the other side. And because we are one in Christ Jesus, what happens to all people, including people named Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, and George Floyd, and countless others, matters to us, and matters to our God.
My heart aches for our country, as our news broadcasts show again the pain of racism, violence, division, and partisanship. I pray for peace and safety for protesters, and peace and safety for bystanders and peace and safety for those called to serve and protect. I pray for the neighborhoods where there is so much fear, anger and tension right now. I pray for mothers and fathers of children of color, and for how they must feel, and for the talks that they have to give their children that I never had to give mine. I pray for our police officers and give thanks for the vast majority of law enforcement officers that do their difficult and dangerous work with honor and integrity.
My prayer is that we can model what it means to be One in Christ by standing with brothers and sisters who are in pain and who are being hurt. My prayer is that we will stand together, bound by the blood of Christ, people of all ages, nations, races, and politics, to say that we will overcome hate with love, violence with peace, hardness of heart with compassion, and partisanship with brotherhood.
This weekend, we will participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion (online), as a way to share in the mercy and grace Christ offers in his body and blood, as an act of repentance and healing, and as a way to show what Oneness in Christ is. I don't know about you, but I'm hungry for the presence of Christ that we find at the Lord's Table. I'm eager to join all of you, in all our diversity and backgrounds, for that Holy Meal. At that Table, we are a family. And at that Table, we can model a different way of being - A way that honors our liberating God of the Exodus, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose love was so boundary-defying that he was crucified for it, and our divine life-breath, the Holy Spirit. The title of my sermon will be "It Takes a Village" and my text will be the Great Commission. Please come. Your presence makes a difference - it won't be complete, it won't be the same, without you, without all of us. (It's BYO Elements - all you'll need will be a bread of your choice and a drink of your choice. The Holy Spirit will do the rest).
See you Online,