“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It’s a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world.” Arundhati Roy
Dear St. Mary’s,
An easy day to be indoors; it is pouring down buckets. Perfect conditions to be thinking of you all and writing to you. It’s good to spend this time with you!
I have been asked to comment on the events taking place as the pandemic has brought the ugliness of racism to a head. My perspective is, of course, my personal one. But I was delighted to read our Dean’s letter to the people of our Diocese last week:
Many are seeking, from the Church, a ‘faithful’ word to be spoken into what has been unfolding, first in Minneapolis and now around the world. On our journey toward reconciliation and decolonization we are growing in our awareness of the systemic racism and white supremacy that exists in our country, our communities, our churches, and our selves.
The most recent crimes against humanity, perpetrated on black and indigenous people in the US and Canada by individuals and systems entrusted to protect them, have once again highlighted the need to do better in our efforts. With God’s help, we will try.
This will require careful, sensitive, compassionate listening. We must listen—to people of colour in our communities, and all voices speaking wisdom from the margins of society. This is the work we are committing to, because words are not enough.
(The Very Reverend) M. Ansley Tucker, Dean of Columbia and Diocesan Administration
I am not comfortable with a lot of words because often people feel they have done something if they speak out. But often this will simply give the illusion of having done something and allow people to go back to the way they’ve always lived.
As one young person recently told me, “I think so many of the words being shared on the internet are people’s desperation to be seen as ‘not racist’ – it has more to do with their own discomfort and wanting to look good than with any dedicated effort to make a difference and change.”
Which brings me to the reading in God Calling for this Sunday, June 14th:
It is not circumstances that need altering first, but yourselves, and then the conditions will naturally alter. Spare no effort to become all I would have you become. Follow every leading. I am your only Guide. Endeavor to put from you every thought of trouble. Take each day, and with no backward look, face the day’s problem with Me, and seek My Help and guidance as to what you can do. Never look back and never leave until tomorrow that on which you can get My Guidance for today.”
I think of my parents who watched carefully what was going on in pre-war Europe; who witnessed the disappearance of rights and the ugliness of racism raise its head. They kept informed and discussed the changes with their fellow students. And then when it came to act, their hearts and minds were clear and they grabbed the opportunity. They both worked in the Underground committed to freedom and justice. And never regretted it even though they were both caught, incarcerated, and suffered terribly.
Personally, because I am the child of survivors, I find even speaking out terrifying at times. Because I know what can happen. So I have my own work to do.
Without proper preparation of our hearts and minds, our words will fall short and to nothing to serve the cause of justice. When is does come time to speak out - “…..do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matt 10:19-20
I remember hearing someone speak to the issue of violence in the world when missiles were flying in the Middle East. He said, “Until we stop throwing missiles in our own homes, we will not be able to stop the violence ‘out there’ in the world.”
I see this not as an excuse not to act, but as a challenge to become aware of the prejudice in my own heart, the fear in my own mind, how easy it can be to make another 'the enemy.' We all have our own work to do, and that is something we can begin or continue to work on, today! And our Guide is at the ready to help us ‘create a clean heart within us.’ Thanks be to God!
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all today and always, Amen.
A new date has been set for the Episcopal Election and the election of a new bishop: Read more here.
A message from Lynne Drummond about EfM (Education for Ministry):
Catherine Watson has a friend who would like to start EfM in September but we need a minimum of three candidates to start a group. If you have any friends who might be interested, could you please let me know asap.
Love and blessings, Lynne
Scripture readings for this Sunday are: Romans 5:1-8, and Matthew 9:35-10:8
For those of you who like to start your Sunday early, the video version of Selinde’s sermon is posted on the website late Saturday evening by Shirley Bays: https://www.stmarynb.ca/blog Thank you Shirley for keeping the website up to date!
The email with a link to the sermon is sent out Sunday morning by 9am and Selinde posts the written version of her sermon by that same time.
And a little chuckle for your day!
“Laying on of hands during Covid-19”