Message from Bishop Russell: A Sunday for Justice and Lament
Many of our congregations are discussing ways to return to their buildings for worship, and I am glad and grateful for all of that. In fact, I had hoped to send a lighthearted video to you highlighting a few things to remember once you get back to your buildings. But as I was in the midst of writing that reflection, two things have occurred in the last few days that I am compelled to say a word or two about with you.
The first is the horrible and unexplainable killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Secondly is the crossing of a terrible threshold of 100,00 lives lost to the pandemic in just the US alone.
I planned to send you a playful message about worship, and the spirit of joy in the midst of that, and that will come in the next few days. Sometimes worship involves lament and mourning. Sometimes it involves the cry for justice in God's world. This is not about what we get. This is about what we give to God’s world. It is a world that is groaning and is broken. And we are the church. We are those who have been empowered and entrusted with the fire of love and justice. So let's not keep our fire under the bushel basket of our buildings. Let's commit our lives to actively engage in ways to dismantle racism in our society and sometimes in our own lives. Check out the work of our Commission on [Justice &] Racial Reconciliation. Attend one of their workshops. Look at all the good work they are doing and get involved.
Wherever you are this Sunday, take some time to pray. Pray for George Floyd and his family. Pray for the fire of God’s mercy and righteousness to set us on fire to speak out, and stand up against all that is wrong. On Monday, carve out some time to join in the National Day of Mourning and Lament. Let's hold up the light of Christ for those who have died in this pandemic and for their families. I guess what I'm trying to say is let's not just focus on ways to get to church. Let's continue to find ways to be the church.
In that spirit let's pray the collect from our prayer book for the human family. (Book of Common Prayer, pg. 815)
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.