My sisters and brothers in Christ:
We worship as usual this weekend: Our convenient community Holy Eucharist service this afternoon (Saturday, June 20) at 5 p.m. and at 8 and 10 a.m. on the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, also known as Father’s Day. We’ll hear St. Paul speak to Christians in Corinth as though he were a parent: “There is no restriction on our affections…I speak as to children — open wide your hearts.” From Mark’s gospel, we’ll hear Jesus ask his followers, also in a father and mother’s coaxing voice, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Jesus’ disciples were afraid because they lived in a dangerous world. The massacre of nine in a Bible study Wednesday evening at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston (shown at left) by a man intent on killing African-Americans was yet another reminder of how little has changed. All such crimes and injustices test our faith and tempt us to close our hearts. And yet our hope is in the name of the LORD, maker of heaven in earth, in whose name we pray:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Book of Common Prayer, p. 815
Two Vacation Bible School reminders: If you signed up for something from The Very Special List With Odd Things On It, please bring your donations to church this weekend…We still have a few VBS spots available. This dynamic, fun- and faith-filled program takes place Sunday, June 28 (2-5 p.m. this day only) through Thursday, July 2 (9 a.m. to noon). Registration fee is $45. You can register at www.stjohnsrsm.org. Questions? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you haven’t picked up your Angels tickets yet, please do so this weekend in the narthex.
Yours in Christ’s saving love,
P.S.: If you’d like to learn more about “Mother Emanuel,” its web site (not updated, understandably, since the murders) is below. It includes a bio of the Rev. Hon. Clementa C. Pinckney, the pastor who was among those who died. You will also see a donations link. I made a gift this morning on behalf of the people of St. John’s:
P.P.S.: Dads and non-dads may enjoy taking this on-line quiz, sent by my younger daughter, Lindsay, about fathers in the animal kingdom: