This past week has brought horrors that I don’t think any of us ever thought we would see taking place in our country. The mayor of Portland was tear gassed on Wednesday night. We see pictures of what is happening in that city and they might be from Syria or Yemen. Only we know it is a city here, where we live.
Colleagues in this country whose background is from Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Nicaragua, remind us that their countries have experienced this brutality and violence perpetrated by the US. One pastor who is married to a Latinx who is a naturalized citizen is preparing for what she believes will be worse violence as the election approaches. She and her family are preparing themselves by readying their documents proving who they are, and by getting everything in order in case they have to flee with little notice.
I read one article this week by a Black American who wrote it really doesn’t matter who the next president is because for people of color nothing changes. They have experienced this kind of violence and hatred for centuries. We need only remember the attack that took place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
When I hear these stories, I realize what a privileged life I have led. These are actions I’ve never had to worry about. Who would attack a white, suburban neighborhood? I feel like my eyes are being opened to what most of the rest of the world experiences on a daily basis.
“The kingdom of heaven is like…” When Jesus told these parables he was speaking to people whose very lives were continually threatened. “Jesus’ parables codify systems of oppression in order to unveil them and make them visible to those victimized by them” writes Bill Herzog. It’s painful to have our privilege unveiled. It’s frightening to see our world turned upside down. We are left questioning everything. How do we feel good about ourselves again?
Like the seed of the mustard bush or the yeast that is added to flour and water, we find hope in the small deeds. We remember those who hid the Jews in WWII. We listen to the stories of what human kindness can bring about. We talk to one another about our fears. We share our doubts and concerns. We make the circle bigger and invite those who have been outside for centuries to join us, holding hands and singing.
He drew a circle that shut me out –
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!
In the midst of the chaos that surrounds us today, may we remember the love that Jesus showed us. By acting as if that love is alive and here among us, we can help create the kingdom of God.
Peace and Grace,
Sunday Worship 7/26 @ 10am via Zoom
Welcome to online worship with PPC! If there's a problem with zoom, check your email for backup plans.
To join by phone: call 646 558-8656 and enter meeting ID 864 6572 5219 (followed by #)
Click here to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns:
Receiving of offerings continues to be important to sustain our church community. While it is missing from our order of worship, we hope you will continue to give online or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906) as you are able. Thank you!
We invite you to stay online after worship for virtual coffee hour :)
Audio recordings of the sermons can be found on our website. They are currently under the Recordings tab, but the page may change when we add transcripts.
If you can help in the church's flower garden please call/text Suzanne at (401) 523-4907.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if accessible, or otherwise contact deacon Milton Liu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-340-5847 (text/voicemail) and he will coordinate care. If you have a prayer request or would like to be included in the prayer chain, call/text Suzanne Affigne at (401) 523-4907.
Click here for some helpful Zoom tips from Milton including phone controls for muting/unmuting, and naming yourself.
Visit our presbytery's website (psne.org) for summer book study info and more. Visit our denomination’s website (pcusa.org) for info about the recently concluded General Assembly, racial justice resources and more.