Pr. Jessica's Weekly Message - 6/3/20

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.  2 Corinthians 13:13


Dear Church,

 This Sunday, June 7th, we celebrate another feast day, the Feast of the Holy Trinity. It’s a tricky one. The word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible, and yet there is enough about God being One in Three- Father, Son and Holy Spirit- in the Scriptures that a whole doctrine was formed through councils and debates and accusations of heresy during the early centuries of the church. They resulted in the Nicene Creed, among other creeds, which we profess on Sunday mornings. Paul’s sign-off to the Christians in Corinth in one of the letters he wrote them, printed above, is also spoken weekly as part of our worship as a trinitarian greeting and exchange, setting the tone for our whole worship. This week it will be spoken both at the beginning, and at the end, as blessing. We gather by the grace of Jesus who shows us the love of God, and who is still present with and among us through the Holy Spirit. See what I mean? Tricky. Anyone who says they have the perfect image or explanation for the Trinity is pretending. It is utter mystery, but one that we live into every single day as baptized Christians. That’s where our relationship with the Trinity begins.


For me, the most important thing about the Trinity is that God is community and God is communal. God is relationship. This is more important to me now than ever as I think about how to be a pastor, a mom and a citizen, not only in the midst of a global pandemic, but from within the gaping wounds of economic and racial inequality and injustice being exposed by said pandemic. My black clergy colleagues remind me that every time a horrific incident, like the killing of George Floyd, happens, many of us express shock, outrage and surprise. But for communities of color, it comes as no surprise. It is one more hammer blow, one more indignity, one more act of aggression that has been the norm for over 400 years in our nation. It is utterly exhausting, dehumanizing and enraging, but not surprising.


I am learning that because God is community, we must be as well. We cannot be ourselves in isolation. We must dwell deeply with each other- listening, seeing, witnessing. As we work together to enact just laws and civil rights protections, we must also do the awkward heart work of repentance and learning, building relationships across all boundaries. Our denomination, the ELCA, is the whitest in the nation, and it’s that way for a reason: systemic racism. We have not been in deep or proper relationship with people of color, and many of our statements, policies and practices enact racist legacies. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit create in us new hearts for a new age and a new beloved community. May we recognize in our God, three-in-one and one-in-three, God’s will for us as God’s children- loving one another as God has loved us. 


If you desire to participate in a protest in solidarity and resistance as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is one taking place in front of City Hall on Grove St. in Jersey City this Saturday, June 6th from 4-9pm. There is also one happening at Maxwell Place Park in Hoboken on Friday the 5th at 1pm.


I also want to offer these reading resources to you as a way to begin this journey. There are so many good books out right now that help show the history of racism in our country, but also offer ideas and hope for moving ahead. These are just a mere few of them that have helped me:

  •       White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin Diangelo

  •       Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-first Century Challenge to White America, by Joseph Barndt

  •       Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi (There is also a young person’s version of this one called, Stamped, by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds)

  •       How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

  •       Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, by Ian Haney Lopez

  •       The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, By Michele Alexander


In the meantime, worship tonight at 7:00 and Sunday at 10:15am can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsLutheranChurchJerseyCity


Zoom Fellowship will take place after worship here:

https://zoom.us/j/91988477959
Meeting ID: 919 8847 7959
One tap mobile
+12532158782, 91988477959# US


The Church Council is meeting via Zoom on Sunday at noon as well, so keep us in prayer.


May the God who raised Christ from the dead raise us also into new and abundant life, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Peace,

Pastor Jess

 

(201) 963-5518

440 Hoboken Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306, USA

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