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Creation Set Free

June 8, 2020

“The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:21

This weekend was one of listening.

On Saturday, with more than a dozen members of Grace, I went to North Lawndale to work alongside residents, partnering to clean up the neighborhood. I listened to voices of hope. Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. spoke with passion of the pride he has in his community as he pointed toward a better future. Pastor James Brooks of Harmony Community Church reminded us that we are one body with many members. And then we listened to the silence. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds of silence spent on our knees in memory of George Floyd.

On Sunday afternoon, I attended the Community of Congregations’ Black Lives Matter Multi-Faith Prayer Vigil at First United Church of Oak Park. A number of people spoke and prayed, but the main voices were those of African-American leaders in our community: Athena Williams (Oak Park Regional Housing Center), Reesheda Graham Washington (L!VE), and Warren Riley (New Mount Pilgrim Church).

We heard stories of pride and pain. Pride at the work done so far in our community. Pain at the instances of racism received in this community. Pride at the high ideals we hold. Pain in the gap between our ideals and our reality. I listened. We were reminded that integration does not automatically lead to inclusion; that inclusion does not automatically lead to equity. We were invited to see our privilege as a tool in the pursuit of justice and peace.

In between these two events, I preached and presided in worship for Holy Trinity Sunday, a day on which we are invited to feel the Wind’s movement, to hear the Word’s speech. Jesus speaks to us, inviting his followers to go in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, welcoming all people into the capacious fellowship of God’s love and baptizing them in God’s name.

Creation is in bondage and decay, but God is not done yet. God is at work, and one day God’s grace will obtain freedom for all of God’s children. Set free by Christ, we live and work for the sake of all God’s people.

Listen. Listen to God speak. Listen to our siblings of color speak. They are in pain. Listen, and then speak. I know. I’m not sure what to say, either. But I can’t only listen.

Black Lives Matter.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of hope, you sent your Son to live for and to die for all people. Help us to follow his lead; to reach out to those who are left behind; to work for those who suffer injustice and marginalization. Set you creation free! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: A sign on the corner of 16th and Millard. This is an “after” picture. Before we pulled the weeds in front of the sign, “Faith” was obscured. But “Hope” was plain to see. In faith, may we make hope manifest.

From → COVID-19

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