Jesus, Heal Us. . .

This past week, Archbishop Hebda invited clergy to join in a peaceful protest of the violence that has engulfed our communities in the past week. I was honored to be able to walk behind our black clergy, as we peacefully marched in solidarity with those who live in the areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. These people have been so affected by what has happened following the tragic death of George Floyd.

It is hard for us to understand what is happening in our world right now. We are living with the dread of a virus that has taken so many lives in these past weeks. And now, we are dealing with the tragic and senseless death of a brother, George Floyd, and all of the depth of emotion that has welled up as a result of it. The isolation, lack of ability to gather as community, and our collective horror over the events that have taken place in our community in these last days has amplified the weight of our grief. 

His peace…

This past weekend, we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. We recalled Jesus’ promise to his disciples—that he would send the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus’ first words to his disciples as he walked through the locked door were, “Peace be with you.” The disciples were terrified and locked themselves away in fear. Jesus knew what they were feeling in their hearts. He knew they needed to find the peace that the world could not give. So where do we find that peace? How do we get back to a place of peace? What can you and I do to help those who are suffering terribly right now? We all need healing, and Jesus is the source of that healing for our lives.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit…

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always, but especially when we are frightened or worried or uncertain. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, as we puzzle through the events of our time, trying to make sense out of things that don’t make sense. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to fill us with His love, His hope, and His peace. Jesus knew that we would know difficult days in our earthly lives. He knew that we would come to places in our lives where we don’t know where to turn. He knew that we would face evil. So as his gift to us, he sent the Holy Spirit.

The Light of the World…

John’s gospel is full of images of Jesus as the Light of the World. As I marched behind our black clergy this past week, I realized the power of our faith to bring healing to our troubled world. There we stood, white clergy silently praying behind our black brothers and sisters, marching peacefully in prayer, asking God to bring light to the darkness of this time. There was a feeling of peace as we marched together in solidarity, carrying the banner of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world.

We are made is His image—all of us…

We are made in the image and likeness of our Creator. Each of us, regardless of our place in society, our race, our beliefs, our challenges and successes, is made in His image. We all deserve an equal chance in the world, and yet we know that there are some among us who do not have the same chances in this life. We have brothers and sisters who are treated differently because of the color of their skin, their ethnic background, religious beliefs, and for many other reasons. Not one of us wants to be in that place of oppression, yet some of our brothers and sisters experience oppression on a daily basis.

I often think of the image of Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary. He struggled and fell. Simon of Cyrene helped him. Veronica wiped his face. The women cried and lamented, and yet he carried that heavy cross by himself. Each of us carries our own crosses in this life. We might see someone with a physical challenge and immediately know their struggle. But many people among us are carrying crosses that are not visible. The truth is we never truly know what kind of a cross a brother or sister is carrying. For that reason, it is so important for us to take a moment before we cast judgment to give that person grace for the cross they carry. Do you and I want to be part of the angry mob that is cheering against Jesus or a Simon who helped Jesus carry that cross?

God is near!

In all of this, brothers and sisters, let us remember that God is near to us and to those who are suffering. Let us continue to pray that the wounds will heal, that attitudes will change, and that peace will be restored. Let us continue to shine the Light of Christ in every encounter with a brother or sister whom we meet. God is always with us and we will get through this together, by the power of His Holy Spirit working actively in our hearts.

In His Name,
Deacon Tim

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