Today [June 19th] is Juneteenth, the day we commemorate the formal abolition of slavery in the U.S. This is a day of celebration. It is also a day when we are asked to consider promises of freedom not fully realized.
At the risk of treading on our Director of Music Tim Pyper’s territory, I thought I’d extend the feeling of Trinity Sunday (which we celebrated this past Sunday), by inviting us all to spend a little time with the wonderful hymn “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” (or “I Bind Unto Myself Today”). It is based on a poem said to have been written by St. Patrick, and it describes sources of strength we can prayerfully draw on for support, including two sources I preached about on Sunday: the power of the Trinity as the three-in-one God united in love and the presence of Christ who is always with us.
As I write this, protests continue throughout our city and our nation. Last night was mostly peaceful, and we are starting to hear about civic leaders who are coming together to address the issues that have sparked such justified anger and resistance.
As I write this, Covid-19 continues to be a threat all over the world. We know New York has done mighty battle with this foe and has seen some success. We are poised to begin opening on Monday—these next days will tell whether we are still on track for that to happen.
And in the midst of all this, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen continues its work to meet the desperate need all around....
As believers, we are aware that Jesus will never leave us, nor will He ever forsake us. Those who have been saved by His grace exist within the Holy Spirit. He is our constant companion and guide. While we may not always be aware of the Lord’s presence, He is always near to us. In scripture we read that the Lord will be near to those who are struggling in life or dealing with pain associated with the circumstances of life.
There are multiple passages in Scripture where it is undeniable that the Lord was in the midst of His people, providing for their particular needs. We are never alone in the journey, and we need not fear facing life apart from His divine guidance....
This weekend includes Memorial Day, always the last Monday in May, when we commemorate those who have served and died in our nation’s military conflicts. It is also the commonly regarded “official” beginning of summer. After Memorial Day weekend we usually start to move into a more relaxed framework. Days are longer and warmer. Schedules become more relaxed. Schools get out, and vacation plans are made.
But not this Memorial Day—or at least not fully. Much is being redefined as we move through this season, imprinted as it is with Covid-19....
Today is the day in our church calendar when we remember Julian of Norwich, a woman who could be the patron saint of our current circumstances. Julian was born in 1343, and lived in the English city of Norwich during a time of plague and the social unrest that followed. People were sick and dying. Religious dissent met with violent ends. Demands for justice went unheard, or were immediately and brutally suppressed. And while all suffered, those who were poor bore the worst of the economic fallout at that time.