Elizabeth L. Windsor, DMin. The Third Sunday of Easter April 26, 2020 Luke 24:13-25 2 Corinthians 5:17
“The Building Blocks of Faith”
The Scripture we heard from Luke today is the traditional story the Church tells on the third Sunday after Easter. In many biblical accounts following the resurrection, Jesus appears in forms the disciples do not recognize. The Emmaus story is one of these accounts. Two unnamed disciples meet a stranger on their way to Emmaus. Their discussion of Scripture with the stranger is so compelling that it results in an invitation to dinner. It is only after the Scripture has been “opened to them” - when the bread is broken - that they recognize the resurrected Jesus. The Jesus they met on the road was not the one they knew. The resurrected Jesus required understanding their Scriptures in a new way; only then could they know their resurrected Lord.
All of the resurrection accounts in the Gospels contain this element of surprise and revelation. How could Jesus’ followers understand their new reality when it was nothing any of them had expected?
In a series of reflections on the last words of Jesus, the American historian, Jon Meacham, expresses it this way: “As the sun set on the Friday of the execution, Jesus appeared to be a disappointment, his promises about the kingdom of God little more than provocative but powerless rhetoric.” They had been anticipating the final struggle between evil (the Roman Empire) and good (the people of God). It was supposed to end with the triumph of God’s chosen one, Jesus, reigning over a restored Israel, liberating God’s people, and establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. No wonder they were disappointed.
This Easter, unlike many of the Easters of the past, brings us into a similar place of confusion, disorientation and disappointment. Our new reality is frightening. It overwhelms our hope. Whatever we believed about resurrection, it certainly isn’t this. So what do we do now that our reality and our expectations have nothing to do with one another?
A cataclysmic outbreak of pandemic that shatters our expectations parallels much of the disciples’ experience of the crucifixion and resurrection. So perhaps looking at how they made sense of their new reality might show us how to do the same. Meacham writes, “Jesus’ followers reacted to his failure . . . by reinterpreting their theological views in light of their historical experience. If the kingdom they had so long expected was not at hand, then Jesus’ life, death and resurrection must have meant something different. The Christ they had looked for at the beginning was NOT the Christ they had come to know.” Isn’t this exactly what happened on the road to Emmaus? The Emmaus story invites us to do as the disciples did, but how?
Last week, Rev. Rick invited us to keep a journal as we live through this pandemic. A world changed by Covid-19 is our new reality, much like the crucifixion and resurrection were the disciples’. But to make sense of its impact on our faith, we need to reinterpret our previous faith journey in light of our new lived experience. So Rev. Rick and I are inviting you to use this time of physical distancing to examine the building blocks of your own faith and explore how they have supported your faith in the past and might sustain you in our new reality. Perhaps previous understandings will be challenged, sustained or re-imagined in light of the pandemic. Perhaps the blocks need to be re-arranged, or you might want to remove particular blocks and search for different ones to build new configurations.
Our new “Building Blocks of Faith” project is designed to share our individual blocks of faith with each other via virtual space, much like our Easter Vigil project. Each week, there will be a theme chosen to help you reflect in your journal. While some of this work is intensely personal, some blocks will be shareable. For the coming week our theme is “What is your favorite hymn?” You will find prompts in TWEC and on our new “All-Church Adventures in Faith” page on the Eliot website. PLEASE participate and share. Not only will you come to understand your own faith journey more deeply, this project will build our relationships with Jesus and each other. In so doing, we will construct together the new Eliot Church God calls us to offer to the world around us. What blocks of faith continue to sustain us? What new forms might our blocks create together? We won’t know for a while yet, but we do know it must be done together. We can’t do it without you, so please participate in this adventure of faith. May the new creation we build give glory to God and sustenance to all in whatever lies ahead. Amen.
John 20:19-29 Let’s go back for a look at this story again. First, Jesus commissions the disciples, and us by extension, to study where forgiveness is needed around us and to minister to those who need forgiveness (including ourselves). It comes down to this: Jesus wants you to be the TONIC in a world of suffering. Without this tonic of forgiveness, human life falters.
Jesus speaks to you when he says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Our ministry, the ministry of forgiveness, is that important.
Then, Jesus says to Thomas who has come to see Jesus’ wounds, “Blessed are those who never saw me (as you do) and yet have found faith.” He blesses those beyond Thomas, such as we ourselves, who only have these written gospels of him, yet aren’t we freshly surprised every time he accosts us from these pages, although we have never seen him?
How does such faith come about?
Jesus crosses the great distance between the gospel pages and our hearts on a river called the Holy Spirit. Breathing on them in that locked room, Jesus transmitted to them something that cannot be seen—just as God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus grants the spirit of creativity we need right now to survive. Let me explain.
I. Faith. Covid-19 cannot take Jesus’ spirit away from us, any more than a grave hewn out of rock can—not at all. But Covid-19, just as much as it has damaged or taken some peoples’ physical lives, has shaken our emotional life and we doubt whether anything will alleviate our anxiety. So deep, wide and high is this crisis that we ask, “Where is God in it all?” feeling abandoned.
Someone in the church recently commented to me, “These are reflective times.” Truly, these are indeed times that make us reflect, that make us go deeper within our selves, into our memory of how we got here and who we are fundamentally, times that make us reach for a deeper spiritual life. Because, the old habits are not working for us under these conditions, nor are our old assumptions about life.
You have already been creative about so many things so far, about how to manage the children under one roof 24/7, creative in weaving work into household management, creative about keeping on top of the bills, many people are having to be very creative about maintaining income. Running on that kind of emergency creativity is exhausting.
We fall back blaming God, or worse, blaming ourselves for insufficient faith in God. But faith is surely more than passive acquiescence in the destiny that God has meted out to us. Such faith is a kind of giving up—“God will take care of us.” God has already “taken care” of us in creating us in God’s own image (Genesis 1:26). As creatures of this creator God, we also are creators. God has equipped us with the creativity called for in this awful crisis. We experience it every day in the active exercise of our imagination—faith imagines things as yet unimagined.
Faith like this is, in fact, an elemental force in nature, our God-given nature. In this faith, we experience the freedom to become what God in this crisis calls for.
Of course we wonder where God is in this? Of course we are afraid of our fears. Of course, we don’t know what to do. So now it is time to clear the way for reflection (remember the phrase, “reflective times”?) equal to the seriousness of this moment.
II. Imagination. So, I call all of you, in the name of Christ, to a deeper spirituality than you have attained heretofore. Even as you juggle all that goes with this sheltering, I call you to take an additional two steps. Make just these two little steps at first, just to get started.
First, reduce the input; reduce the intake. This is easier said than done. We complain of internet overwhelm—well, we have to do something about that, don’t we? I can’t tell you what self-discipline may be required in your case, but you already know what I mean.
So I’ll go straight to the second little step—increase the output. We take in internet advice and wisdom and news all day and produce little of our own, little of ourselves that comes from our insides, from the gut, from the heart. That’s because nobody asks us to, but I am asking you to now. Because expression allows us to discover what’s inside that we don’t realize.
Finding creative ways to express ourselves, even in the smallest way, unearths the self that wants to be born in this moment’s crisis. The painters are painting; the composers are composing; I hope the dancers are dancing. But for our initial purposes, I would recommend to you keeping a daily journal. A journal?? Yes, even so mundane a vehicle serves this sacred purpose.
You might not try to start a journal, possibly, because no minister ever asked you to before—forgive them! You might not try a journal, possibly, because your family will laugh at you—forgive them! You might not try, possibly, because you feel awkward and self-conscious about it—forgive yourself. You might not try, possibly, because you’re just too full of anger—forgive those you are angry at.
Again, reduce the input. Again, second, increase the output, the expression. Make more room for reflection in these reflective times—and don’t let those reflections evaporate.
I know two people now at Eliot Church who are keeping a daily journal. Perhaps there are others who already have the practice. They record not just events but also their own thoughts and feelings, reflections about what they’re reading (scripture?) before charging into the day.
Where’s that pad you make grocery lists on? Got a leftover notebook lying around? Keep it handy. You don’t have to compose essays—just jot down the passing thoughts about the strangeness of this strange time.
Because, when you write, you capture time for eternity. Your journal actually represents your devotion to the God who made you to break your silence, it is a ritual in a pedestrian day, it is a kind of armchair pilgrimage, and if you do it with a Bible open on the table beside you in front of the window which opens to the outside world—it is, finally, your prayer for the day.
You will experience the vital link between yourself and Christ—call it faith, call it imagination, call it what you will—it opens what is closed, it frees what is locked down, it energizes what is inert. It may turn out that Covid-19 will drive us to living our life as a religious vocation the way we always should have been living it.
Short-term—deepen your spiritual life this way. It will prepare you for the long-term—when we must be ready to attack poverty. Before this all hit, there were 500,000 homeless in the U.S. 27 million without health insurance. 38 million living below the poverty level. 40 million on SNAP.
What will those numbers be when the all-clear signal is given? And what do you suppose the racial breakdown of those numbers will be?
Covid-19 cannot defeat anyone who is possessed of the creativeness which is itself our God-given religion through the Holy Spirit bestowed on us by Christ.
See how Matthew Fox put it in one of his books: “There is a river of creativity that runs through all things, all relationships, all being, all corners and centers of this universe. We are here to join it, to get wet, to jump in to ride these rapids, wild and sacred as they be. That river is the Holy Spirit itself.” Amen!
I. Now, let me start out as clearly as I can. Easter is real.
It’s a little bit of a shame that we speak of the “Easter miracle.” Because it is no miracle at all. Easter is really real. Sometimes people regard Easter the way we react to a magic trick like, say, pulling a rabbit out of a hat. People always want to puzzle out the trick—it’s, well, just miraculous—but to no avail. So, when it comes to Easter, then they have to conclude, well, it’s just God being God again!
If you think of Easter as some kind of magic trick, then keep your eye on Good Friday. There is no Easter without Good Friday—there is no Resurrection without crucifixion. In fact, and this may be the big point lost in translation, resurrection occurs in and through the crucifixion.
Normally, stories unfold in order—first one event, then the next, is how we commonly tell them, everything laid out in a sequence. And so it is here—Good Friday is followed on the third day by Easter Sunday. But, although laid out in sequence in the Bible, the uniqueness of the Christian experience is that the one contains the other: the crucifixion contains the resurrection—it all happens on the cross, because Jesus’ last words was a prayer with his last breath, “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
This was not to dismiss what he was undergoing, obviously, nor for us to condone, to approve or to baptize any evil. Forgiveness puts us in a more powerful relationship to evil than any other alternative. Jesus invokes the God of Israel on the cross, the God of mercy and righteousness. Jesus would have us love the world as it is—to redeem the world if we want to improve it.
II. You might learn this, as I did attending churches in the poorest sections of Southside Chicago. You know these areas, like the ones in Roxbury and Mattapan, neighborhoods now being wasted because of racist practices by the coronavirus epidemic—poor, crowded, underserved, long on dreams, short on hope.
My entire exposure to this world was summarized in a semi-autobiographical novel by James Baldwin where he described his conversion experience at the age of 14 in the storefront church of his Pentecostal preacher step-father. After an intense and long marination in the racial oppression of urban America, this boy underwent the harrowing of hell and heaven in an all-night trance that led finally to the revelation that broke through his resistance to Christ—when he saw the crucifixion and resurrection in the same moment.
“A sweetness filled John as he heard this voice and he heard the sound of singing: the singing was for him. For his drifting soul was anchored in the love of God; in the rock that endured forever. The light and the darkness had kissed each other, and were married now, forever in the life and vision of John’s soul. . . .”
That was how it was laid to Baldwin’s charge “to keep his heart free from hatred and despair.” The crucifixion of black America on the white cross was not followed by resurrection—for Baldwin, the mystery was somewhere in the crucifixion, where it was laid to his mind that hate was futile and self-destructive. Baldwin’s cross transformed him—it resurrected him as a man of extraordinary self-possession and as the most articulate critic of American society. If Baldwin could do this, why not we?
So, the resurrection was real only because the crucifixion was real, the two being one in the transformed spirit of a sanctified Harlem youngster. The two are one. The resurrection is not a solution to a problem—it is the living of the problem in a state of forgiveness.
It is from there that the fight for justice and God’s righteousness arises.
III. To take an example closer to hand, maybe you would be more familiar with a recent musical icon, the late Leonard Cohen, who made the very same testimony in his chart-topping hit, Hallelujah. Such is the spiritual power of this song that it is performed by church choirs and soloists, not to mention a host of music stars. But most renditions more nearly resemble lullabies which project comfort and transcendence. They may not have comprehended, because when you see and hear a Leonard Cohen performance of his own song, you understand that he means something pretty stark.
Cohen is all grit and grittiness when he comes to the alleluia—his HA-le-lu-ia has a guttural sound to it—. This refrain comes out of some gritty biblical stories and a hard-bitten reality of his own. First, King David in the Bible got all caught up in a tangle of adultery and murder and deceit, yet finds the right “key” (musically) to life in the course of it. Then Cohen appears to make a reference to Samson the strong man in the Book of Judges seduced by a foreign woman who betrayed him into enemy hands by cutting his hair which was the source of his strength. He was in prison so long his hair and then his strength returned, enough to pull down the capital building around his head and that of his enemies.
Cohen also seems to be making oblique references to his own love life and its, shall we say, crucifixions. But he sings outright that the Holy Spirit had a part to play in the consummation of conflicted relationships. And the resulting hallelujah is not the one people sing at church “it’s a cold and broken Hallelujah.” His raspy voice and closed eyes as he sings, doubled over, convey that life emerges from a furnace, or to put it in his more explicitly Christian terms—the furnace unveils the higher life.
In response to a question during an interview, Cohen said, “The world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled--but there are moments we can reconcile and embrace the wholeness. That is what I mean by “Hallelujah.” Leonard Cohen means to position resurrection within the painful lives of everyone, not just church people, so that everybody can take personal possession of the Alleluia because it means, in Hebrew, “Praise God.”
The question is asked every day, Where’s God in this pandemic?
Right here. The answer is, right here. Mind you, literal crucifixion is not involved—it serves as a figure for all kinds of death, death of our goals, death of our hopes, the death of our old selves, which can be as painful as anything we will ever know.
It merely requires for us to flip on the Christian light switch and see God wherever there is the strength, the endurance, the hope that comes from forgiveness. This is easier for those who have lived a life of devotion, ritual observance, study, pilgrimage, and—eventually—direct non-violent action. But sometimes, sometimes, we come upon resurrection by surprise, in the Emergency Room, the workplace, in our sequestration, where we know resurrection to bring —“a cold and broken Hallelujah.”
In conclusion, we can’t make too big a deal out of Easter, it’s that important. But isn’t it amazing to think that this is all about such a small thing—forgiveness?
Elizabeth L. Windsor, DMin. Good Friday 2020 April 10, 2020 John 19: 16b-30
A Good Friday World
It is Good Friday. Traditionally the Christian Church marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion by walking the Stations of the Cross, or meditating on his last words. Over the course of centuries, these rituals have allowed us to witness and mourn Jesus’ death. But, no rituals are required on this particular Good Friday.
In the midst of a world-wide plague, we need no reminders of sacrifice and death. Our nation and the world suffer. As it was for Jesus’ disciples on that day so long ago, our illusions have been shattered, our hope has been overwhelmed and our futures are unknown. We live in a Good Friday world.
For those of Christian or Jewish faith, our religious practices re-focus our attention on plague this week. Our Jewish siblings began Passover at sundown two days ago. They remember their experience of slavery in Egypt and tell the story of God’s liberating participation in their communal history. Their lintels marked with the blood of a lamb, the Angel of Death passes over God’s people as the first-born sons of the Egyptians die. It is the last in a series of calamitous plagues that finally convinces Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Christians, too, remember these plagues as we tell the story of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and that is the meal he shares with his disciples on the night he is arrested.
The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign for Moral Revival, reflected on plagues in a recent essay in Sojouners Magazine, “ . . . Plagues expose the foundations of injustice.They tear down the flimsy, whitewashed walls of false narratives to expose the foundations of injustice . . . when the powerful double down on inequality, violence, exploitation, and deceit - God speaks . . . through plague to force us to see the truth of sinful injustice in our society, remove oppressors from power, and repent. “
Covid-19 has revealed the brokenness of our Good Friday world more clearly than we can bear. All of our world’s unjust structures of power and privilege have been made visible in ways we can no longer ignore. While the virus strikes people of all walks of life and of all social statuses, the effects of it do not. The privileged shelter in place and work from home, while the poor continue to work or go without. The emergency gives cover to the authorities to use their power to further exploit the system to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. The deceit of our Good Friday world is ugly. Our failures to love God and our neighbors publically hang on the cross. We cannot hide from them.
But Good Friday is not the end - even though it may feel that way to us, and it certainly felt that way to the disciples. The late Barbara Harris, the first woman elected Bishop in the Episcopal Church, preached over and over and over again that Christians are “Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” Easter people know that resurrection waits beyond the cross. Easter people know that God’s power – love’s power- cannot be contained by death. Easter people know that God’s power working in us calls us to faithfully respond to the injustices of our Good Friday world.
Easter people choose to participate in the resurrection that is both already here and yet is still coming. Dr. Theoharis invites us to live the resurrection even in the midst of the horrors revealed by Covid-19, “. . . the lesson from our sacred traditions is that . . . the basic demands of justice, cannot be temporary.Plague in the Bible is not a storm to be weathered before the return to normalcy. It is a call to come together in new ways in order to survive, to hold the powerful responsible for their unjust policies and the lies they tell to cover up injustice and to rebuild on foundations of justice and love.”
Rebuilding our Good Friday world “on foundations of justice and love” is the work of Easter People. On this terrible Good Friday, may we be the Easter people our suffering world needs. Amen.
I. The Conspiracy against Jesus. Sermons spoken with fire. Hard stares from cold priests. Hearts warmed, chains dissolved. And Herod fumes. Multitudes fed. And the Pharisees are not at all satisfied. Time starts to feel short. Murder is put on the Council agenda. Bad signs mean times they are a’changin’. Who are you? Who are you? Who am I? Temple ruckus. Who can be found to put the finger on him?
II. The Upper Room. Late one day, they traveled out to Bethany village where it’s quiet. Invited in to a Pharisee’s home, a woman in their midst wept over Jesus, then she knelt and wiped his feet with her tears and anointed his feet with a costly oil. That set the house in a commotion, but Jesus told them to leave her alone, because it was done out of love. He said she would always be remembered, wherever the gospel is preached.
Another day and the sun slants downward to Passover when they secure a guest room in the city, upstairs somewhere.
Meanwhile to raise a little money for the poor, one of them snuck out to arrange a signal for the plotted arrest, somewhere away from the crowds.
III. At Table with Christ.
Luke 22:14-20 John 13:1-5, 12-15
IV. Gethsemane. Prayer and Confession. Distress.But a trouble overcame his spirit then. He sensed that his demise approached and that it would be triggered by one of his own intimates. Things were rolling inexorably forward, and his disciples held back squabbling as to whose fame would be most glorious. He told them a mystery, that the first shall be last and last first. And that Peter would end up last. Where to pray? Up to the seclusion of Gethsemane, yes. They could hide out there and pray the night through. Travail overcame his spirit then as he saw happening what he long foresaw. The scent of violence now palpable, making true the scripture, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.” So it was, as heavy hands, armed and purposeful, were laid upon him. And he was led away somewhere.
V. Despair and Hope. To Calvary. What happens in the soul when destiny, once distant, comes home? What happens when that exit and that exit and that exit is shut closed? What happens when you are ushered into a dark room overhearing the laughs outside? What happens to the soul when the highest earthly authority and the divine one, abandon your side? The hope you always believed in happens, but it’s a long walk up to the hill.
Today is the first Sunday of the rest of April, predicted to bring more disease and death than this country has ever seen at once. Where does all this hit you—the pit of your stomach, your solar plexus, your brain, your whole body, like me? We cannot imagine at all what the health care workers and service people must feel, and those stricken who must be admitted to hospitals without family or friends to visit, the many who were instantaneously unemployed. We fear for them and ourselves. We can only, we must, turn our faces to Christ, who said, “Do not be afraid.”
Let us pray. . .May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O God, my strength and my redeemer. Amen.
“He kept to himself the sorrow in his heart, Wearing, for them, a mask of hopefulness.” --Vergil, The Aeneid, Bk. I.
These words of the Roman poet Vergil, who died in the year 19 B.C.E., describe Aeneas, the founder of Rome, before his hopeless counter-attack on enemy troops. But they aptly describe what Jesus must have felt upon his entry into enemy territory himself, although he was not leading an army. However, Jesus was entering a hostile environment, where the authorities always expected trouble on Passover, and we know from what Jesus said to the disciples that he expected the worst.
People at the time traveled from all over Israel, pilgrims carrying palm fronds to signal their destination. And so do we on Palm Sundays, but this year the festive nature of day is tempered by extra tension, a tension between what we would like to see happen and what actually happens, between what we wish for and what may happen.
I. The same tension animates this story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, a masterpiece of storytelling, among the most compelling in all scripture, a story that almost tells itself because of everything that leads up to this moment. The story is retold in all four gospels, of which you heard the shortest version, from John, written in 90 A.D. and contains all you need to know.
The usual rowdy Passover crowds found out that Jesus was on the way, his reputation having preceded him. We don’t know how many gathered in adulation and laid down their blankets before him, nor do we know how many were there to mock Jesus and deride the peasant magician. Neither do we know Jesus’ personal state of mind, except that there had to be a mix of hopelessness and hopefulness, as he joined the festivities.
All four gospel writers saw a message in the way Jesus approached, on the foal of donkey, which from their post-Resurrection view 30-40 and more years later was a signal that Jesus brought something different than political power into the religious and political capital of Israel. Jesus’ entry that way was purposeful, choosing to enter as the prophet Zechariah (9:9) predicted a non-military king would, on the foal of an ass.
This is a monarch, a king? Yes, but of a different kind and with a different reception. Here was David and Goliath again, except this time it was the Son of David versus goliath-size potentates of Israel.
The vortex awaited him, the air was electric, it was a live moment when anything could happen—and the story makes this clear.
II. Why is it such a compelling story? . . .because it captures a decision Jesus made, it captures an action he took that was not scripted, not warranted, counter-intuitive, so to speak. It came out of Jesus’ prayer life, out of a life opposed to vanities, out of a life of devotion to Torah and Yahweh, out of a life of redemptive journeys away from home and back, out of a life committed to the single and only mission of forgiveness, this man, who was called rabbi by his followers, stepped into the vortex.
He didn’t have to, but he did. It was not a death-wish (as Nietzsche scoffed); it was a redemptive action. When at an impasse, Jesus made a move; when boxed in, he stepped out. Action is implicit in the spiritual life—truth inconveniently motivates us beyond our usual boundaries. Right action is a consequence of the spiritual life.
That’s what stands out here—the whole Passion story starts with the entrance, the entrance into the vortex. When you look at the artistic renderings of this story through history, in a single frame all of them depict the necessity of this action, the redemptive escape from futility and irrelevance and impotence. Look at the mosaics of Ravenna, look at the icons of eastern Orthodoxy, look at the Medieval triptychs, look at the Renaissance miniatures—most very stark, emotionally charged—all, all, in one frame, capture the call of the spiritual life to action. The movement was always forward. There is one such image in the bulletin by an unidentified artist. The other image, on the website, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, an early 19th century British artist, depicts the scene with even more tension where even the onlookers convey a sense of foreboding. You should ignore, however, the depictions by sentimental American Christianity which show a serene Christ entering Jerusalem with a beneficent blandness—be it Warner Sallman or Hollywood (shame on them)—they gut the force of the gospel and its dangerousness to life-as-usual.
III. How would you portray this scene, if you had the skills? Consider only that Jesus projected an aspect of hopefulness under hopeless conditions—he knew, but he did not fear. He taught his disciples, “Do not be afraid.” It was his constant refrain. His hope obviously lay far beyond what the crowds were invested in—the spectacle, the controversy, the scent of violence. His hope, and that of his followers, lay in a new relation to God, in a new way of reading God’s Word.
Jesus actively and single-mindedly taught forgiveness as the door into life in God’s world (kingdom).With that mission, there was nothing of which to be afraid.
IV. So, given this, what are we to do, caught as we are, Christians in a pandemic moment of history? Beyond our fright, our alarm, our anger, are we spiritually prepared to take a step into the vortex ourselves?
Have we been prepared for this moment by our Sunday Schools, our confirmation classes, our Sundays of sermons and choirs, our ritual life, our prayer life, our study of scripture, our devotion to Christ—I hope so. And if so, then we will see the right action to take as individuals, as a congregation, as citizens of Boston!
It won’t be obvious, what ministries will be called for here, not right away—the moment will come when it is clear to us. We do not know yet, but we have our own entrance into Jerusalem before us to consider. Do not be afraid, you are prepared.