Sunday is Coming
(Letter sent to congregation on Friday, July 8)
There are certain weeks when it feels that Sunday cannot come soon enough.
When I need to be in the presence of my fellow travelers on this Christian journey.
When I need to lift prayers and hear prayers lifted for me.
When I need to sing the music of our faith and hear it sung.
When I need to remind myself of the good news of God’s great love that Scripture tells us casts out all fear and darkness.
For me, this has been one of those weeks.
We will gather this Sunday to do all these things together once again, and we can only ever do them against the backdrop of the world from which we come, and of which we are a part.
As we say so often, church is not a place where we come to retreat from the world around us, but where we come to learn how to live more faithfully within it. This week it will also be a place where we come to grieve for and with this world.
We will lift up the events of Baton Rouge, the Twin Cities and Dallas in worship, but I also want to remind you of our combined Sunday school hour. In what feels providential, we had planned to begin a study of some of Dr. Martin Luther King’s sermons from the collection, Strength to Love. This week we will begin by looking at his sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan entitled, “On Being a Good Neighbor.” A painfully resonant question and topic. A copy of Dr. King’s sermon can be found at this link.
It is also my hope that this time together in the Sunday school hour will provide space for us to talk about these recent events and the state of race and race relations in our country and in our community.
To that end, I also want to tell you that I have been in close conversation with Rev. James Goolsby of our friends and neighbors at First Baptist on New St. We both feel emboldened now more than ever about the importance of the work our congregations are doing together. In a time when the world around us seems to be driven further and further apart, we are doing our best to bring ourselves closer together. I will continue to update you on plans we have to reconnect with them this fall.
But for now, join me in prayer for our county and its people. Prayers of lament, of grief, of sorrow. And when we feel ready, prayers of hope.
Hope in a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Hope in a light that will drive out all darkness.
Hope in a love that is stronger than any fear.
Hope in a God who is always working, always healing, always loving, always holding.
Hope in the good news we claim and do our best to live, especially in times when it is painfully clear that our world demands nothing less.
We will once again proclaim this good news together this Sunday.
And it cannot come fast enough.
In God’s love,