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Sunday, July 5, 2020

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Dear St Luke Community,

With the recent increases in Covid cases - county, state and countrywide - I imagine we are all feeling weary: weary for others and for ourselves. I’m reminded of one of my favorite pieces of writing from John O’Donahue in his Blessing for the The Interim Time, part of which says:

You are in this time of interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here was washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;

I might suggest that we actually can lay claim to one (or three) things: God, Christ and Spirit. As people of faith, when we feel groundless, weary, angry, or in need, we look to God to carry us. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

This interim time is not a time to look back and desire things the way they used to be, nor is it a time to start planning for a future that’s entirely unknown. This is a time to renew our faith, and to find strength so that we might affect change both within our own lives but also for the lives of those around us in need. 

The blessing by O’Donahue ends with the promise of a new dawn, suggesting that the longer we can endure the interim time, the more refined our hearts will be when that dawn arrives.

May it be so.

See you Sunday on Zoom,
Nicole

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Dear St Luke Community,

I’ve been thinking about humility lately. And I’ve been thinking about our ability to say:

  • “I don’t know, but I’d like to know.”  Or,
  • “I don’t understand, but I'd like to understand.” Or,
  • "I don’t agree, but I'd like to understand more about why you believe what you believe.”

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been thinking so much about humility lately. I’m sure the state of the country has much to do with it. Every day there’s more happening that makes me feel inadequate. As a white female pastor I feel inadequate to provide words of wisdom regarding Black Lives. As a relatively wealthy person in the US, I’m all too aware that my neighbors are suffering and any help I give won’t be enough. As a friend of a few people who have been directly affected by the cruelty of this virus, I have no leader to point to as a sign of hope.

And yet, to stay stuck in my own feelings of inadequacy, shame or guilt is not what Jesus calls on any of us to do. What Jesus calls on us to do is to take the lowest seat, or to come from a place a humility. To find our humility, individually or as a nation, is a kind of letting go of everything you think you already know about yourself. To discover humility is to open up your heart like that of a child’s, entering into discussions with curiosity and without judgment. To live in humility is to look forward to how God is doing a new thing and ask how you might be used by God in the process. We are in a wilderness period, not unlike the Hebrew people of long ago. And like any wilderness period, it’s both frightening at times, beautiful at other times, and requires a dependence on God so deep it requires constant humility. Which as it turns out, is a gift.

See you Sunday on Zoom,
Nicole

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Sunday, June 7, 2020

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Dear St. Luke Community,

In light of all that’s been happening across our country (and even in a few cities around the world), I’d like to offer you some resources as a way to begin morally imagining together the kind of world that reflects God’s intended creation.

Many of you have asked what can you do, and these resources attempt to address that. I offer them as tools for those who would like to educate themselves and an invitation into imagining together what the world can look like when all of God’s people are treated equally.

The first is a video, “Deconstructing White Privilege,” produced in 2018 by the General Commission on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church.  This video was shown at our Presbytery meeting last September, and I found it extremely helpful as a way to begin. The speaker, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, is the author of a book called White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. 

Another resource is this document, "Anti-racism Resources" which lists books, podcasts, and resources to links that will give you suggestions on what you can do.

Here’s a link to another video, "Moral Imagination," by very smart and articulate theologians and justice-oriented people from the Faith Matters Network articulating the term “moral imagination” and how can we re-imagine our social practices that affect the public square.

THIS SUNDAY

And finally, this Sunday is Trinity Sunday as well as Communion Sunday. Paul imagines a world where we greet one another with a holy embrace (2 Corinthians 13:11-13). And in Genesis 1, God creates. Imagination and creation are not just things left up to God. We are God’s co- creators, called upon to imagine and create the kind of world that reflects the Kingdom. The Kingdom is both already here now, but also not entirely fulfilled, because we’ve messed it up. As we imagine the weeks and months ahead of us, I suggest we stop thinking about when we will get back to normal and begin to imagine together what the new normal will look like. What new and imaginative ways of living together can we create for ourselves as a church and as a community?

See you Sunday on Zoom,

Nicole

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