In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus’ public ministry began with him reading from the prophet Isaiah: “‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:18-21) As Christ’s church, we are called to continue his ministry on earth: bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, letting the oppressed go free. And yet, in order to respond to this call, we must be able to see the poor, the captive, the blind and the oppressed. In the last few months, the struggles of systemic racism have been brought back to a national consciousness. Many of us had been taught that the problem had been fixed with the Civil Rights Movement, but that is not the experience of our BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) siblings. As a church, we should have acted long ago to address the racial injustice around us and within us, yet we have delayed because these conversations can be uncomfortable and we want to “get it right”. It is a sign of our privilege to be able to ignore these struggles - and to debate whether they even exist. In So You Want to Talk about Race, Ijeoma Oluo wrote: “It is important...to stand secure in your experience, without trying to override the experiences of other communities...What has happened to you is valid and true, but it is not what has happened to everyone. The experience of white communities with police are real, and the experience of communities of color with police are real - but they are far from the same.” (97) Oluo was writing specifically about policing, but her words ring true in many areas of concern. As a majority white congregation in a majority white county, our experiences of race are not the same as others. As we seek to respond to Christ’s charge, I invite you to join me in reading Lenny Duncan’s Dear Church. From the book’s description: Lenny Duncan is an unlikely pastor. Formerly incarcerated, formerly homeless, and formerly unchurched, he is now a black pastor in the whitest denomination in the United States: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Shifting demographics and shrinking congregations make the headlines, but Duncan connects the church’s lack of diversity to its lack of vitality. Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church offers a bold new vision for the future of the church. There are parts that will be uncomfortable. Lenny’s experience within our church is vastly different from how many of us experience our church, but I believe we need to hear how others experience what we hold dear so that we can examine ourselves and learn who to truly live the Gospel. I invite you to join me on Tuesday nights in August to discuss this book. We will meet online at 7 pm. Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join me in this important work. In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord, Pastor Lecia
Staying Connected with Risen Lord
In this season of pandemic, we will continue to refrain from gathering as a large group. While we continue to worship in our own homes, we know that many long for the fellowship of gathering together. Members of the Leadership Team are working to provide weekly opportunities, some online and some in person. For groups that meet in person, groups will meet outside and everyone will be expected to maintain physical distance between other participants. Please RSVP to the group conveners so that they can easily communicate any changes in schedule. If you are interested in convening a group at another time, please reach out to Pastor Lecia (email@example.com)! We pray that you will continue to find connection and encouragement as we continue to learn how to be church together in a new way. Upcoming opportunities:
Sundays at 9:00 am - Cara Ruble will bring her Bible study class online! Using both Martin E. Marty’s book “Lutheran Questions, Lutheran Answers: Exploring Christian Faith” and Donald Abdon’s “Living Discipleship” we will explore “The Church”: What does it mean to be a Church “member”? Why is the Church so full of “sinners”? What is the “mission” of the Church? What should be the Church’s relation to culture? And more! For more information or to RSVP and receive long-on information, contact Cara at firstname.lastname@example.org. This group is currently meeting.
Sundays at 4:00 pm - Connie Temm will lead a meditation walk at Risen Lord. First we will read a scripture, then walk in the field behind the church being aware of the sights and sounds around us, feel what God is sharing. Bring a chair for sitting and talking afterward about our experience and how God is working in our lives. For more information or to RSVP, contact Connie at email@example.com. This group will meet next on July 26.
Wednesdays at 1:00 pm - Connie Temm is hosting a Zoom fellowship time. Feel free to drop in and connect with whoever shows up, sharing conversation and catching up with each other. For more information or to RSVP and receive log-on information, contact Connie at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group is currently meeting.
Thursdays at 6:30 pm - Carol Retz will host a group in the church’s backyard focusing on fellowship, scripture and prayer. Bring a chair and join the chat! For more information or to RSVP, call Carol at 765-215-4813. This group is currently meeting.
TBD - Fred Freeman will lead a book group online to discuss Rob Bell’s Love Wins. In Love Wins, bestselling author, international teacher, and speaker Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever? If you are interested in discussing this book, contact Fred by text or phone at 317-513-4676.
Pastor Lecia will continue to provide worship, a devotion and a Bible study available on our website each week at www.risenlordlc.org/blog. She is also available for individual pastoral care conversations by phone, in the church yard or in your front yard. Please reach out by phone (614-439-9685) or email (email@example.com) to request a time to meet.