Sunday, June 7, 2020

Trinity Sunday CCLI 1909678

Let’s start with three deep breaths and relax….

Opening Reflection
Merciful and Just God, we gather here this morning, each of us with many concerns on our hearts. Our hearts are concerned with systems of injustice which strip people of their dignity and their very lives. Help us to be those who would seek peace with justice, who would fight for those who are oppressed, offer voices for the voiceless and dignity for all humankind. Be with us this day and guide our steps toward a more just world in your name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
We confess this day, O merciful God, that we have not always acted in just ways nor sought justice for our friends and neighbors. We have found it easy to turn our backs on problems rather than seeking to be a solution to them. We have heard of the many ways in which you have demonstrated peace with justice through the ministries of your Son, yet we have given only sporadic attention to them. Forgive us, Lord. Heal our selfishness and brokenness. Cause us to be witnesses to your great love as shown to us in Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
This is the good news: Christ died for us that we might have life. We are called to give our lives to ministries of justice. God is with us in this and all righteous endeavors. Thanks be to God. AMEN.

let us begin today’s worship

Call to Worship

L: God is with us, right here and now.
P: We open our lives to our creator.
L: God cares for us and gives us glory.
P: We open our hearts to our creator.
L: God appoints us keepers of the earth.
P: We dedicate ourselves to our creator.

Holy, Holy, Holy # 277

(All candles lit.)

Today’s Gospel reading is Mathew 28:16-20

The Commissioning of the Disciples
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”[a]

The word of God for the people of God!


Today is Trinity Sunday Jesus has summoned his disciples to a mountain top and tells them who he is exactly “All Authority on heaven and earth is given to me.” He then commands them to teach what he has taught (the sermon on the mount)
and to baptize in the name of the creator, the son and the holy spirit. The holy trinity!

The trinity is a community working together to reach us, bless us, that we may carry out the work of Jesus’ love here on earth.

It is so hard to speak of these things today when it seems the lack of love, compassion and understanding has ruled the week, in many ways has ruled and shaped this nation and the world.

“A dialogue is happening in the courts of the heavens

“How do you plead?” God asked.

Humankind stood by quivering.

“Not guilty, Your Honor”, they cried in their fear.

“Not guilty? An interesting plea! Why do you so plead?”

“Well, you see, Your Honor, it’s not our fault. It’s the fault of everyone who went before us. It’s the fault of the rich for not sharing. It’s the fault of the poor for not speaking up. We didn’t create this mess, we inherited it.”

“So you would like all creation, from the very beginning of time, to stand trial?”

“They should. They left us with this mess.”

“Counsel, how do you view this situation?”

“If Your Honor could be patient with us, it is impossible to put all creation on the witness stand. We’ve tried hard, but we could only find these people to represent humankind. What was the task you wanted them to do, Your Honor?”

“To be good stewards of the earth, its people, its resources……to protect the lands and its people, to find ways to get along together, to raise children who would also respect creation.”

“That’s a pretty tall order, Your Honor.”

“You think so? It may be now, but it still can be accomplished.”

“How can this be rectified?”

“What can you do?”

“Me? I’m just a simple counselor, sent to plead this case. I don’t know what to do.”

“So, that’s going to be the excuse? I can’t do it because I’m simple?”

“No, I didn’t mean that. I meant that I’m only one person, that’s all.”

“OK, that’s where we will start. Counselor, I want you to “counsel” your people about taking good care of this earth and its people. I want to see a plan in this courtroom within the next month detailing how you will begin this project. I believe that you all can turn things around. Now do it! Court, dismissed.”[1]

Now this is a cute little drama and yet it is played out every day, someone else should do it.  I am not called to such word. It is their fault…NIMBY (not in my backyard)… I am guilty of it…

I watched tv, listened to the news, felt pain, as I watch communities, communities I have lived in, be messed up.  What can I do from here?  Should I say anything at all after all I am white, middle class, privileged… the list can go on, and on…I am done with that list

The poor people’s campaign reminds me and calls me to action

“We have no option but to organize, we have no option but to mobilize, we have no option but to register and educate people for a movement that votes. We cannot back down. Our very lives depend on it. The very soul of this nation depends on us. The current crises reveal that a moral fusion movement is necessary to transform the nation.”[2]

We must be part of the movement, if we are not part of the movement, we are stagnant and part of the problem. I am sorry if this is too political for some but I am in pain and I am angry, mostly at myself, for being complacent.

I have allowed myself to mention a name in the opening reflection of service or to pray for an incident that has occurred and then I allowed service to go on as if nothing was happening.

Recently a pastor was called to task for comparing George Floyd with Samson much of the criticism pointed out that;

“ ‘black lives shouldn’t have to be lost for white Americans to turn away from racism.’

Similar sentiments from white evangelicals prompted Andre E. Johnson, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Memphis and senior pastor at Gifts of Life Ministries, to tweet: ‘Why does it seem like it takes Black death to redeem us?” …he expanded on his lament about the need for black bodies to provide American redemption. ‘Whenever we talk about how God is going to use something evil for good, why does it have to take black bodies being strangled out, to be strangled and killed, on camera?’

Regarding the necessary presence of the camera, Johnson also minced no words. ‘We don’t get this response if there’s no video. And I’m not only talking about white evangelicals, but I’m talking to white liberals too. You would not be feeling what you are feeling right now without video, and I want you to own that.’ He added, ‘I’m lamenting the fact that Breonna Taylor’s name is not mentioned as much as George Floyd’s, but one of the reasons why is that we don’t have video.’ (Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own bed)

‘It’s easy to imagine that Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend must have done something wrong,’ Johnson continued, ‘the police wouldn’t just break into a house. But of course they would! They do it all the time.’ The fundamental problem, in his view, is that ‘Black truth still does not matter. If black truth mattered, we could really begin to put a dent in this issue.’ And one of the reasons that black truth doesn’t matter, Johnson stresses, is that white conservative Christians’ theology is fear-based and ‘and rooted in the hatred of black people, and all people of color and all people who are not white men, as well as the belief that they are superior, that they are God’s chosen.”[3]

Do you hear his pain, I do! But do you hear his lament…Black truth matters! It should not take a video for America to get upset when a person tells you that the police broke into the wrong house and shot without provocation, it should be on the front page of every newspaper. For one and two there needs to be accountability. When a person kills somebody they should not be on administrative leave and still receiving a paycheck, that would not happen in any other situation. We must hold our nation, our government, our citizens, and ourselves all accountable.

There is this underlying belief that because this country once elected a Black president that we are no longer a racist nation.

Peter Larman write in religion dispatches;

“I will do almost anything to shake white complacency and challenge white naiveté when it comes to the persistence of institutional racism and the illusion that the worst of it is safely behind us now. The “post racial America” illusion—an illusion that Obama himself promoted—is an illusion that kills. In order for Black people to live and thrive, the illusion itself must be killed with all deliberate speed.

It won’t be easy. After all, this is the same country that dismissed and ignored the Kerner Commission’s report (which concluded that inner-city violence was driven by poverty and institutional racism… in 1968) even before the ink was dry.

With an openly racist president and packs of racist pundits already baying for law and order—and with progressive mayors like New York’s De Blasio along with liberal governors feeling rising pressure to lean into the demand for crackdowns—it’s already apparent that the grief and rage of the Black community won’t even be allowed to remain the central focus for much longer. Instead there will be endless stories about the role being played by Antifa anarchists, about the self-destructive behavior of people burning down their own neighborhoods and defying social distancing rules, and (of course) about how blue lives matter, too. 

Once these narratives take center stage there will be no discussion of the white riots that helped to create the American apartheid in the first place. There will be no excavation of the roots of American policing in slave patrols. There will be no examination of what can properly be characterized as the decades-long white looting of Black communities in the form of blockbusting, predatory lending, redlining, poverty wages, etc. Nobody will be talking about the white destruction of property on a planetary scale by means of extractive industry and the near-fatal wounding of our Mother Earth.

Worst of all, we will hear far too many liberals—religious liberals most certainly among them—mouthing the myth that all the rancor and disorder will magically disappear with the departure of the Provocateur-in-Chief from the Oval Office.

Princeton’s Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. nailed this illusory way of thinking in a comment given to the Washington Post:

‘We blame it on Trump when in fact this is the culmination of 40 years of a particular ideology that has produced unimaginable wealth inequity and deepening racial divides and despair…The only thing Trump has done is broken the implicit rule of manners around how one pursues these policy initiatives. He doesn’t have a dog whistle, he has a fog horn.’

Does this gloomy assessment mean that I make no room for hope? Not at all, but I do make a fundamental distinction between hope and wishful thinking. Not to get all theological, but real hope is never less than fully realistic about the lethal capacities of the principalities and powers that are arrayed against God’s justice. Real hope is anchored in the belief that justice will prevail but not without mortal struggle and not without the overthrow of oppressive structures. To be authentically hopeful is to be fully enlisted in this mortal struggle. To be hopeful is to be resolutely faithful. Nothing less will suffice.”[4]

We Are being called to be what we are called, the faithful!  We are being called to be faith full to Jesus commandments; Love God and Love your Neighbor. In this climate, a climate that does not go away just because it is not on the news or there is no video, we must do what we can to be more than, well… complacent.

Jesus said to love one another as you would want to be loved yourself.  We/I, expect to be loved into full and honest equality. Heck my community is still fighting for it.  If I expect to be loved in full and honest equality then I must thrive, not strive but thrive, for honest equality.

Hear the difference!

strive is to try to achieve a result; to make strenuous effort; to try earnestly and persistently while thrive is to grow or increase stature; to grow vigorously or luxuriantly, to flourish!

We must live and work to see that Honest and full equality continues to grow and flourish in this country.  I am beyond trying.  To try is to attempt, attempting something makes room for failure. Too often when an attempt fails, people stop trying and will walk away.

Our brothers and sisters of color do not have a choice, they cannot walk away from their need for full and honest equality and so I dare not strive for it, but to thrive for it.

I thrive to see the end of poverty.
I thrive to see the end of racism.
I thrive to see us all living equally loved, equally blessed, and equal in community.

You see on This Trinity Sunday we lift up the greatest example of a thriving loving community, the three that bless us as one.  We are invited to join in their sacred dance, but we must work to invite all in to this community equally with love. That means if the only thing I can do is know where I stand, do what I can to lend a hand, and speak up, then this is what I do!

Love of neighbor, love of children and love of the earth. Amen

A call to prayer
The early disciples devoted themselves to prayer,
The teachings of the apostles, and sharing the bread of life.
They were a people of prayer,
Who shared their joys and concerns?
Their passions and sorrows,
With one another and with the Lord.
For burdens shared and burdens lessened,
And joys shared and joys enriched,
Come, let us follow their example and lift our prayers to God

Please write your joys and concerns in the comment section and I will lift them up after this hymn

Oh Day of God Draw Near #611

Let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us

Our Creator, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kin-dom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Invitation to the Offering

Pentecost people!
We have received gifts too numerous to count.
Now we have a chance to give in thanks and joy.
Your offering will enable this church
to be a Pentecost presence in this community
and the world—
to reach out in passionate commitment
and bring the wind and fire of the Spirit
to a people and a world that so desperately need it.

if you would care to, you can mail in your offerings or go to the top of the webpage and click the donate now button

Offering Prayer

For all you have given, for all we have received,
we give you thanks.
We bring before you our gifts of substance
and the gift of our lives.
We bring our passion and joy and surprise,
our visions and dreams.
May they refresh and enliven our church and community,
as the wind of your Spirit did long ago.

The office is open for regular hours
We are accepting donations for the kidz cupboard and the food pantry

I am available for one on one virtual visits or phone calls if you need any prayer we will be together again one day, but until then remember you are the hands and the feet of our lord in this world and in this world of no physical contact we can still smile, wave, chat , check in

Community of Christ #314

Benediction (Genesis 1, Psalm 8)
May God’s creative Spirit be with us in our hearts
and minds as we move from this sacred time to our daily routines.
May God’s creative Spirit help us to seek with new vigor
the splendor of your people all around us
and inspire us to thrive for Equality and fulfill the prayer, the prayer for the church as well for the people, That they all may be one.

Monday Bible Study on Zoom

Rev. Dr. Joseph Shore-Goss is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Bible Study
Time: Jun 1, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Mon, until Sep 28, 2020, 18 occurrence(s)
12:00 PM
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