Dear Friends in Christ,
I think it would be an understatement to say that the last week has been one of the most challenging in recent memory. The United States passed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths due to the coronavirus in just two months. We witnessed the gruesome lynching of a black man by a police officer. We have seen the anger and pain and trauma of our black siblings pour out into the streets, the culmination of centuries of systemic oppression and inhumane treatment.
It is exhausting to bear witness to this pain. It is exhausting to be engulfed in grief. It is exhausting to keep searching for signs of hope.
Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost, we celebrated the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. The Spirit came into the world as wind and fire ready to transform a broken world. It feels like just the reminder we all need that we are not responsible for changing the world on our own. Yes, we must participate and work to change what we can, but ultimately it is God, working through each of us, who enacts lasting change.
But before we can truly make lasting changes, we must grieve. If you haven’t yet watched Denise Bennett’s powerful sermon from yesterday, I encourage you to do so. She reminds us that our tears, that God’s tears, can be a powerful expression of the Holy Spirit.
Today, June 1, is being marked as a Day of Mourning by faith communities across our country. We mourn the lives lost in this pandemic. We mourn the livelihoods and economic security that has been lost in the pandemic. We mourn the countless lives lost to systemic racism. We mourn the pain and fear that our siblings of color experience on a daily basis. We mourn that our world does not yet more closely resemble God’s dream for us.
At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, the bell at St. Andrew’s will toll for ten minutes to express our grief. Wherever you are, I invite you to pause as you are able at 3:00, or at another point in the day. Acknowledge our collective grief. Pray that God might heal our world and help us create true justice for all.
I am hear to listen if you need to talk. I’m here to pray with you and for you. I’m here to share your grief and your pain.
I pray that we all feel the presence of the Holy Spirit today and in the coming days. May you know God’s strength and peace. May we all feel stirred to bear witness to God’s love and transform our broken world.
Grace & Peace,