From the Pastor’s Desk, 5/23/22

When in doubt, throw it out,” is a familiar mantra that comes to mind when we are looking at a container of food in the fridge of which we are uncertain of the date when it first arrived there. Another familiar mantra is “turn around, don’t drown” when coming face to face with areas that are flooded which under normal circumstances are easily traversed. The emphasis is safety. Be careful. If danger is present, remove it or move away from it.

   We are taught from an early age to avoid danger. Mostly, this is a helpful concept to learn. But like any concept, nuances exist. If we come to believe that any and every danger should be avoided, then we may become so inoculated to danger that when we need to confront it for the good and safety of the larger whole, we run in the opposite direction and the threat diminishes the goodness of life for all.

   Jesus went to the synagogue one Sabbath day. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He found and read this message:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

   These words don’t sound too dangerous. What augmented danger was the commentary Jesus added. In his additional comments, Jesus indicated that all, even Gentiles, could receive these promises. He offered a message of inclusion to an audience that expected these promises to be for them only. How could outsiders who perhaps had no faith at all, or who dismissed faith, be participants in this good news? Blasphemy! Jesus didn’t run for the door when he heard the dissatisfaction of the audience. He stood in the midst of danger because he truly believed that all were to be included, the good of all eclipsing his safety.  

   History gives us other examples such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison may be less familiar than MLK or Gandhi, but his story is interesting. I’m reading about him in Ibram X. Kendi’s book, Stamped From the Beginning. In the early to mid-nineteen century, Garrison was actively engaged in the work of abolishing slavery. He still had racist views, but he worked diligently for emancipation. He saw the greater good as freedom for African Americans who were enslaved. At one point, he spent time in prison for his efforts. He was opposed for his thoughts and beliefs. A partnership he developed with a Quaker abolitionist dissolved. Speaking truth to power put his economic health at risk. He lived in and against the tide of danger for the benefit of a larger whole.

   Risks need to be weighed. The scale of justice needs to be the apparatus for taking the weight measurement. Running from danger may not always be the best option when the weight leans squarely and inclusively toward justice.  

Recap: Worship, May 22, 2022                                    

   Wisdom comes to us in a variety of ways. Experience along with knowledge provides wisdom. Learning is yet another avenue. And, additionally, so are the many voices of reason and understanding that radiate from so many corners of life. Some of these voices may be considered controversial, that prod us to transcend our cultured or personal beliefs. Other voices are biblical, yet still very relevant for our consideration. Wisdom is present at the intersections of our lives. Be open to it. Spread its goodness everywhere. Let its goodness put peace into each other’s hands.  

   Videos used in the service can be accessed with the following links:

Becoming Servants of Peace – (between :32 and 2:43)  (4) July 29, 2020 | Becoming Servants of Peace | Rev. Jeanmarie Eck – YouTube

Universal Soldier – (4) Buffy Sainte-Marie | Universal Soldier | CBC Music Festival – YouTube

How Good Spreads – (4) Kid President + Glad to Give present How Good Spreads – YouTube

   Facebook page video of the service – Canton Church of the Brethren – Illinois | Facebook

Worship Services over the next several weeks

   We are employing new material, Seasons of the Spirit, to aid in the creation of worship service over the next several weeks. Seasons of the Spirit is ecumenical in content and follows scriptures outlined in the Revised Common Lectionary. As such, the themes of services may vary from week to week, however, all services will be biblically-based and be formatted as services have been the past several months. Each grouping of biblical texts will receive two week’s of attention. The format of the first week will be more traditional is style and the second week will follow a more theopoetic (arts-informed) format. Service will continue to be in-person as well as streamed on ZOOM and Facebook Live.  

Topic: Worship Services April – June 2022

Time: April through June 2022 each Sunday 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

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