Community in Action July 13, 2020

Well, we are back. Joan and I drove to Washington, making sure we took food with us and only stopped at Rest Stops, one gas station, and kept masked when outside the car. We washed our hands often and used Clorox wipes when reentering our vehicle. This was an interesting trip, about 12-13 hours depending on who was driving. We met Mazie, born on June 22, and saw her sisters, and of course her parents. It was great to connect and be together for those few days.

    It was wonderful to welcome a new one to this world. It is hard to imagine we all started that way. It is also hard when someone leaves this world we become so used to. My heart goes out to those who are in that situation and I pray for Bob Rickleffs and his family as they grieve over the loss of Fran who passed away on July 10th.

    Psalm 121 reminds us that God watches our coming in and our going out. This is not only true of life and death, but of other life changes like employment changes, location changes, milestones like leaving the teenage years or entering adulthood (those two may not always coincide).

    This is also true of our transformation as we become more like we are called to be. Sometimes it is hard to give up some of our more comfortable habits, even when they are detrimental to our health. Some habits are good habits ,but our circumstances or our physical capabilities change for a period of time.

    Like when we went to Washington Joan and I could not swim that week. We also walked less so we could spend more time with our family. We still ate in healthy ways, except for those rice crispy treats to celebrate Morgan’s (our second granddaughter) birthday.

    Probably the one area of transformation that I am struggling with now is learning about systemic racism. I had never considered this as a part of my life till recently. Oh, I had heard of red-lining and prohibiting the proper use of the GI bill because of the color of a person’s skin. I also know that the preponderance of incarcerations are skewed towards those of color. But I had never considered how much of our history decries the declaration that all people are created equal.

    I hope that we can be open to hear the cries of people long silenced. I hope that we can admit that we have failed to treat all people with dignity and respect. I have too often expected others to express themselves as I think is proper, instead of allowing people to express their thoughts in their ways.

    I believe not only are we learning how to be a community which respects each other by wearing masks and keeping our physical distance, but we are learning that some people have been oppressed far too long from being able to voice their concerns.

    Joan and I just finished reading White Fragility. I hope that if you are white you will consider reading this book. If not there are other books which will introduce you or lead you to a new understanding of the world in which you live. You can find a list of some of these our our church’s website under Get Connected. Pull that tab down and look for How to be a JKPC Ally, then click on the Power Point and scroll through that till you get to resources of both movies and books.

    It is hard to be a fish and recognize the water we swim in, but I believe we can learn how things could be better for all people. And I believe our journey is watched over by our God as we come to terms with the inequity in our nation. And I believe we can find ways to address this understanding in constructive and healthy ways. And I believe God will watch over our leaving what needs to be left behind and our embracing new ways to live that honors all people.

    Let us rejoice in the assurance that the Holy Spirit will direct our paths and our transformation will become more than just future expectation, but become a reality.

    Blessings to you,

    Pastor Randy

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