Dear friends and members of St. Matt's,
On Sunday, the country will celebrate Juneteenth. A holiday that might be fairly new to some of us, it has a long history. (If you need to read a little bit of the history on Juneteenth, you can find some here.) And this year, it happens to fall on a Sunday - so I think it's right for us to mark the day and reflect a little on our nation's history and our present. We'll sing some music that we know, and some that honors the struggle of our black and brown brothers and sisters. The Social Justice & Racial Healing group has written the prayers for the day. And the lectionary has thrown me a passage for the week that is...actually quite perfect (a rare occurrence!) for us to reflect on together.
Then after the service, we'll invite you to travel over to our cemetery with us for a service of remembrance planned by the Social Justice & Racial Healing Group. Did you know we have a cemetery? We do! And what we've learned is that there are some enslaved people who were buried there. Some, even, who had a really meaningful connection with St. Matt's in its prior location.
As we begin to engage in the Witness Stones project, my hope is that we'll uncover more and more of that story. I feel a responsibility for us to come to know the people buried there, and if we can, to give voice to those who's stories were not told and were not valued. So, I hope you'll join us at the cemetery on Sunday around 11:30am for this very short and very meaningful beginning.
As Christians, we often say that we are resurrection people. We believe in new life. In the possibilities God creates when it seems like there are no options and there's no hope. We know that God works wonders in those tight, hopeless spaces. We are also liberation people. A close reading of scripture and an understanding of our history will lead you to a place where you believe in the liberation of all people - on every level. We believe that God longs to set people free - and that we are called to help. (Don't believe me? Just go back and read the Magnificat.) So, it's fitting for us to mark this day of liberation - and to try to learn from our history - so that we can continue to be (and learn always how to be better at being) the people who proclaim liberty to the captive and let the oppressed go free. Only in freeing others, in carrying their burdens, do we find our own abundance, our own freedom. This is one of the great paradoxes of the Christ we follow. Our freedom, our well being is bound up in each other.
I hope to see you on Sunday.
Tags: Welcome from the Rector