March 10, 2020

DEAREST NORTHMINSTER FAMILY,

As we continue on our Lenten journey, I pray that you have found opportunities to deepen your relationship with God. As our congregation considers aspects of liberation theology and the plight of many of our siblings of color in God’s family, I’m inspired by the words of many African American spirituals. Behind these spirituals are stories: stories that describe individuals and families, their experiences and their prayers. Jesus was a storyteller and a story listener. We’re invited to model that aspect of Jesus in our own lives.

As we strive to be better storytellers and story listeners, there are some great questions to consider. Who is writing and telling the stories we are reading and listening to? Who is benefitting from these stories? Who is missing from these stories? It’s been suggested that the first step in racial reconciliation is learning and listening for these stories. Only from there can we begin the journey of confession, reconciliation and the repairing of relationships and systems. There is a lot of work to be done, a lot of stories to be heard. There are conversations and relationships to be engaged. And in the midst of our conversations, we need to keep asking ourselves: “How do we make sure that our conversations about race and reconciliation are catalysts for change and not a substitute for action and activism?” How can we take what we learn from these stories and be about the work of justice, of radical hospitality and abundant love?

I look forward to listening to stories with you, and to wrestling with these questions as we work for the benefit of God’s Beloved Community. In this, and in all things, may God bless you and keep you, surround you with peace and strengthen you for service.

May the peace of Christ be with you,

PASTOR JILL

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