Greetings Beloved Community,
As we enter week ten of our “stay home, stay safe” time, we are continuing to hold one another in our hearts and in our prayers. This is a difficult time for all.
And in this time when everything seems changed, some things remain clear. In this pandemic, the brokenness of our healthcare system, our justice system, our immigration system and our economic system have been on full display. The personal grief we feel in this difficult time is multiplied by our corporate grief as we are also caught up in such systemic injustices. Long term and continued economic disparity and corporate wealth accumulation has left the lowest paid workers vulnerable and distressed. Ongoing systemic racism means that people of color are experiencing disproportionate impacts of job loss, economic devastation, illness, and death. Our national rhetoric has led to increased hate crimes and vandalism directed toward people of Asian descent. And racist terrorism continues. Last week, news of the February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and the March shooting of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and the delayed prosecution of their attackers, has demonstrated again the ways our country continues to live out its deadly racist legacy.
Yet, as people of faith, we do not despair. We know that grief always carries within it the seeds of hope. To see suffering and injustice clearly, and to feel the impact of that suffering, is a first step toward change.
This pandemic is offering us a chance to bear witness, on the deepest levels, to brokenness. And when we see it and name it, we are no longer captive to it. We can work to change it.
There are things each of us can do, and we as a church can do, even in this time when we are not able to be together physically. As your pastors, we are committed to helping this congregation live out our covenant to “reject the false gods of society, meeting hate with reconciling love.” That means for all of us, we can continue to speak out. We can continue to use the resources and privileges we have to confront and address the brokenness all around us. We can continue to name the injustices, and to demand a dismantling of the structures that support it.
Theologian Walter Brueggemann notes that our prophetic imagination is fed by two rivers. The first is one of grief. And yes, we have felt that torrent. The second, Bruggeman calls “doxology,” or praise. By this he means that even in our grief we can see the beauty in the moment and respond to the hope such beauty invites. This is the river of gratitude.
When we are awakened from the thrall of “that’s just the way things are” we can see more deeply what matters most. In the face of deep pain and loss, we can know that God is with us.
We see that in simple gifts all around us. The blossoming of spring. The comfort of a conversation with a friend. The kindness of a stranger. The opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. The birth of a child. And in our grief, and in our gratitude, we can hear God’s kin-dom call.
So during this time, as we are praying for and caring for one another, we are also praying for and caring for our world. May God bless you in your grieving, in your gratitude, and in your action.