We pray together again this week during a time of pandemic and national unrest. The pandemic has in fact taken a back seat this week due to the death of our brother, George Floyd and the protests across our country and around the world. If we are truthful with ourselves, we realize that these protests are long overdue because his death was one of, too many. May our good God forgive us all for letting this go on so long…may this same God now give us all the strength we need to make the changes so needed to make our country whole. As our readings today tell us, we have a God of “tenderness and compassion.”
Hopefully, this post finds you all safe and well, with the hope that we can join as a community again before too long. Peace and love, Pastor Kathy
P.S. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if I can help you in any way–507-429-3616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
O God, may you be praised, lifted up and glorified above all else forever. Blessed is your name, you who can’t be measured, contained, or fully named, your mercy and love extend forever. Praised be you O God forever and ever.
Let Us Pray:
Today, O God, we praise you in your greatness of persons. You are our Creator God who loves us as a father, as a mother loves their children. You are our Savior, in Jesus, the Christ who lived his entire life for us to show us the way, even unto death, rising to a glorious new state. You are our friend in the Spirit of this loving God-head, One, forever and ever, AMEN.
- Exodus 34: 4-6, 8-9
- 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
- John 3: 16-18
Trinity Sunday my friends, is all about praising the God of us all, in the persons of the Creator, the Savior and the Spirit. Today’s readings from Exodus, Corinthians and John not only speak about our God who has loved us beyond all imagining, but about how we, as followers of our Savior, Jesus of Nazareth—the Christ, expects us to live as we sojourn upon this beautiful earth.
The Creator God of Exodus proclaims to Moses, “I am, I am!” Many times in the past, we have heard explanations of this scene, trying to figure out how to name God. I believe what God says next to Moses is so much more important, especially in the context of present day living as we struggle as a nation, to be whole, to include all in meaningful ways, finally—perhaps, finally.
Our God continues, “I am a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger and rich in kindness and faithfulness.” These traits—tenderness, compassion, slowness in moving toward anger, richness where kindness is concerned and faithfulness to oaths that all police officers take to protect and serve were absent on May 25th when our brother, George Floyd was murdered in the hands of these “public servants.” And as others have rightfully said, “He was murdered as so many others before him because—he was black, proving that in our country, black lives matter less that do white lives. I have to believe that our God is “taking a knee,” is weeping deep tears of sorrow alongside the black community, nationally, as they beg, plead to be heard, to be recognized and to be treated as white folk are treated in this country.
I heard a novelist in the past week, who just happens to be white, speaking about this issue and she related that when she was growing up—half of the kids in her school were black and she never thought of them as belonging to the “black community,” but to her community! Perhaps a lesson for all of us.
Our Scripture readings continue today and we reflect on the Gospel refrain which comes from Psalm 8: “Who are we that you should be mindful of us?” I have always loved this verse—because to me, it says that the psalmist is aware of how wonderful a gift from the Creator—life is, and without taking a stance of, “mea culpa,” or “beating our breasts” in our “insignificance,” we instead show our deep gratitude for this wonderful opportunity. With thoughts of gratitude as a backdrop then, we must reflect on what it is to be black in our world at present, where up until the death of George Floyd, the people in this country had been complicit in systemic racism.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians encourages his hearers and this includes us, “to live in harmony and peace, to greet one another with a holy kiss.” Paul’s command to all of us does justice to the Creator God who said, “I am a God of tenderness and compassion.” The times in which we live, my dear friends, call us to no less.
And today’s readings conclude with John’s gospel where we hear—“Yes, [our] God so loved the world as to give the Only-Begotten One”—to be with us, showing us how to live and to die. And for us white-skinned folk here in the United States of America, it is good to recall that in 1st Century Palestine, Jesus would have appeared as a dark-skinned human!
So my friends, what are we to make of all of this? How do we start, and what might be our vision going forward? One thing, I truly believe; we have passed the point of where we can simply do nothing, once the protests are over. Like our response in the past to mass shootings in our country, “our thoughts and prayers” simply will not get it done! Our thoughts and prayers must move us to action. Our Minnesota governor has said, “This is our last chance in this state to get it right!”
As you all know, for this change to take place in our society—in our country—moving us as a nation to see all of us as equal and deserving of the basics of daily life, regardless of race, color of skin, gender, whatever “impediment” there might be, will not be like flipping a switch.
I heard a speaker, knowledgeable in these matters; talk this past week, about the concepts of “explicit” and “implicit” racism as a way to get at the deeper issues involved. Explicit racism shows itself in language and actions that clearly show a person to be racist—to be against another in a basic way—no doubt about it. Implicit racism is not as clear a response to a person of a different race. The person operating under this form of racism may not even be aware of how their actions or language appears to others. If there is a sense that in any way a person considers them self to better than another and this sense doesn’t cause them to be upset with the lack of just treatment of another in this world; we are probably seeing, “implicit” racism.
For most of us white folk, this may be a hard pill to swallow—but in order to come to terms with the fact that too many people in our country and world go to bed hungry every night, that too many people don’t have adequate shelter or meaningful work, for any number of reasons, plus our national crime that people of color are more often than not considered guilty before the facts are known, (white privilege) should tell us something about what needs to happen in our country and world, especially for those of us who claim to be, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or whatever other faith names for us a universal God of kindness and compassion.
We have received hope this week since George Floyd’s death that change may happen this time. The protests, mostly peaceful, certainly haven’t stopped and may not for some time. Singular police personnel around the country have spoken out and shown with actions—actually talking with those protesting to see what they need and want, “taking a knee” out of respect for how George Floyd lost his life, listening, truly listening.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) have made a statement recognizing their complicity in racism in our country and have asked forgiveness of the black community with the promise to do better going forward attacking white privilege in our country.
The National Black Sisters’ Conference have named the indiscriminate killing of black people by police officers, “21st Century Lynchings” and have called on Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Minneapolis/St. Paul and the National Bishops’ Conference to make a pastoral statement denouncing, “violent hatred and racism.”
Unfortunately, response from leadership within the Catholic hierarchy has been slow to non-existent. Our hope lies in examples like the bishop of El Paso, Mark Sietz and some of his clergy who knelt for 8 minutes this past week, in a local park, holding signs, “Black Lives Matter.” For them, this sign is just another way of saying as Catholics often had, “God has a special love for the forgotten and oppressed.” Bishop Sietz was quoted as saying of their demonstration, “There is something profoundly ‘eucharistic’ about these moments.” Yes!
Another example is Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago, when speaking recently about what our response to the unrest over racism should be, suggested that we should be less quick to judge the proportionality of “their” response and start talking about the proportionality of “ours.”
He went on; our country has a “shameful history of discrimination, racial profiling and police brutality. Let’s look at the grace in all of this. Look at the witness of those who are bravely taking up their parts in the drama of salvation unfolding…If we look past the static—they’re pointing the redemptive way to transformation…they are showing us what our country can look like when all have a place at the table.” Thank you, Blaise Cupich!
A final example: James Cone in America magazine said, “The Word comes tortured, black and lynched. Today we meet Jesus in those tear-gassed, tased, strangled and snuffed out.”
My friends, in conclusion, this is not easy and we will at times feel like this is such a great task, but we must remember the plight of our black sisters and brothers in our world and do all we can to show them what the face of God looks like—a God of tenderness and kindness, love and mercy. Amen? Amen!
Prayers of the Faithful
Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
1.On this Trinity Sunday, may the greatness of who you are God, be ever present to us, we pray—Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
2. O God, we know you are great, help us to remember that you want more than anything to be near us and involved in our lives, we pray—Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
3. We profess as Christians to believe in Jesus, the first born of our loving God—help us Jesus to be willing to “travel with you” showing love, compassion, mercy and understanding for our world and its people, we pray—Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
- Dear Spirit of the Living God, surround us with your love and friendship, your wisdom and grace to reach out to our suffering world, especially those who live with less than the basics of life, we pray—Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
5. Bless our community, All Are One—keep us O Spirit close to the heart of Jesus and help us to be ever ready to accept any and all into our family, and be with now as Church and nation to confront the evil of racism, we pray—Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
- Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week—through Covid 19, as well as all other ways—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response: We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, we pray, then response
***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts—(pause) we pray, then response
Let Us Pray
Good and gracious, Triune God, more great and wonderful than we can imagine, stay close to our hearts and minds this day and always. Be the air we breathe, be light to our eyes and solace to our spirits. Be our strength in each day to make a difference in our world, so in need of your compassionate love and understanding. Teach us to share your love through the simple kindnesses of each day—a smile, an encouraging word, a helping hand. Help us to realize your challenge each day to your believers—they will only see me if they see me through you! In all things, give us your peace, a firm belief that you walk with us each and every day. During this time of unrest in our country over the issue of systemic racism, help us who are white, to be able to “sit with” the unrest and consider the part that we play in the unrest due to white privilege. We ask all of this of you who are God for us—Creator, Savior and Spirit, in Jesus’ name—AMEN.
Let Us Pray: Again, we must consider Eucharist to be bigger than the “bread of the altar,” but find Jesus, all around us!
Prayer after Communion
We remember how you loved us to your death, and we celebrate because you are with us here. We believe that we will see you when you come, in your glory, we remember, we celebrate, we believe.