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Pastor's Note 06.05.2020

Certainly the faithful love

of the Lord hasn’t ended;

certainly God’s compassion

isn’t through!

23 They are renewed every morning.

Great is your faithfulness.

24 I think: The Lord is my portion!

Therefore, I’ll wait for him. (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Good Day Family,

Compassion and Faithful Love

Our world is in turmoil. We read the news and see the headlines scream at the deep pain and despair felt throughout the land. Long-held suffering and division are rising in response to oppression and abuse by a system that privileges the powerful. Within us, there is a deep longing for justice, even as that looks different depending upon our perspective. The experience of our lives can shelter us from or expose us to the varied experiences of life in America. We are not yet all fully equal. We have much work to do to realize the ideals espoused by our founding documents, which themselves limited true liberty, freedom, and self-determination to white, land-owning men. Unfortunately, those limitations have been ingrained in the fabric of our society. The Good News is that we, as Christians, know there is a better way and a way forward.

God’s vision of a beloved community restores harmony, abundance, and justice in a world that lacks all. In the beginning, God created a world with that in mind as the goal. Humanity, all of us, are shaped in the image of God and given everything we need to live in right relationship with God and with one another. We, who are called to continue the ministry and mission of reconciliation in the world, have much work to do to help realize that vision. As I shared on Sunday:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. – from the Talmud

We each can do our part. That might be as simple as praying for peace in the world and for the bonds of oppression to be broken. We can each vote for candidate who demonstrate Christian values, regardless of political party or partisan pandering. We can speak up against the demonization or degradation of any person, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. We can choose not to laugh at jokes spoken at someone else’s expense. We can donate to organizations that help reverse the inequalities inherent in our society. We can say that Black Lives Matter, understanding that does not mean that they matter more than any other, but that it means we do not matter any less. As an African American woman, I can tell you that we live each day in the shadow of a Constitution that declared that we were three-fifths of a person. My ancestors were enslaved. These are truths, and we must confront reality if we are to heal.

The Good News is that healing is possible. The Good News is that God is still faithful. The Good News is that there is more than unite us than divide us and that most people truly want to live in harmony rather than discord. We have seen an outpouring of compassion unlike any that I have ever seen in my life. From those who marched for justice to those who spoke out on social media to those who just ask another, “are you okay?” we find that there is a resurgence for justice in the land. I believe it is possible. I trust that it is on the way, even as the days may seek bleak and overwhelming.

The word compassion means “to suffer with.” Empathy is a tremendous antidote in the face of the ills of our society. And Pentecost reminds us that through the Holy Spirit, we can gain understanding even when we don’t speak the same language or share the same background. Let us, as the church—the voice, hands and feet of Christ in the world—be the first to witness to a God whose faithful love is constant, whose compassion never fails, and whose mercy greets us anew each morning.

In hope,

Be well,

Pastor Cheryl

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