Our Time Has Come

5th Sunday After Pentecost, 7/5/2015: Ezekiel 2:1-5  Mark 6:1-13

On the third Sunday after the Charleston Massacre, on the day after the 4th of July, we read Ezekiel’s call story and the story of Christ returning home, where he is rejected by his own people and can do no deeds of power among them.  And this was the first Sunday after Bree Newsome, an African-American woman, shimmied up a flagpole in Charleston, South Carolina, and took down the Confederate flag, quoting the 27th Psalm and the Lord’s prayer on her way down, where James Tyson, a white man, waited to help her get over the fence.

We read from Bree Newsome’s statement, Our Time Has Come (Bree Newsome’s complete statement), asking what God is calling us see and do through her prophetic words and her prophetic act.  We emphasize our belief that responding to God’s call to us as individuals and a church is a choice; and we remember that call is ineffective absent community.

NOTE: In the sermon I refer to an interview with Bree Newsome and James Tyson in which they note that black groundskeepers were required to raise the flag that they had taken down.  The interview video is here, the image appearing at about about the 1 minute mark.

Our Time Has Come (pdf sermon manuscript)

$4,100 for the Mother Emanuel AME Church Hope Fund

I am pleased and proud to say that First Congregational Church (Moline, IL) raised $4,100 to send to the Mother Emanuel AME Church Hope Fund. Money is not all we have to give, but it is privilege and honor to contribute to this fund for hope as we look for other ways to fight against racial terrorism and Christian passivity.

Desperate for Healing

5th Sunday After Pentecost, 6/28/2015:    2 SAMUEL 1:1, 17-27  | Mark 5:21-43
Desperate for Healing (pdf sermon manuscript)

This was again an important Sunday for churches across America.  We came to church for the second Sunday with Mother Emanuel heavy on our hearts, and only a few days earlier the Supreme Court made Marriage Equality the law of the land.  On a day that combined celebration with mourning, the theme of our texts brought us to the the connection between desperation, grief, and healing.

Slinging Stones for Mother Emanuel

4th Sunday After Pentecost, 6/21/2015: Mark 4:35-41  1 SAMUEL 17:32-40

This was an important Sunday for churches across America.  Four days earlier, Rev. Clementa Pinckney was assassinated and eight parishioners were massacred during a bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  The story of David and Goliath provides a way view of how we as people of faith will slay the giant of racial terrorism.

I am indebted to Malcom Gladwell’s recent book, David and Goliath.  Gladwell’s reading of the story is available as a TED talk: The Unheard Story of David and Goliath.

Slinging Stones for Mother Emanuel (pdf sermon manuscript)

Mother Emanuel

I count as friends many of you who grew up in church but have left it. No matter the reasons you left, no matter whether you “believe,” no matter how you practice your faith as you live your life, raise your children, bury your loved ones, this moment calls for action from us to say to the good people of Mother Emanuel AME that we see that they have been victims of racial terrorism and we love them and support them in this time of grief.

There is a donation button on the Mother Emanuel webpage:
I encourage you to make a donation.

Pr. Craig Jan-McMahon

We are Safe

I am hearing parishioners asking about security in our churches–in white churches.

If you have seen my Facebook posts, you know that I am heartbroken by the assassination of Pr. Clementa Pinckney and the murder of 8 people during a bible study. I need to say something that will be difficult for you to hear.

We are safe. What happened in Charleston was racial terrorism. We need to see that we are safe from this kind of terror being directed at us–we will not be targeted because we are not black.

Let us pray to be open to what we might hear and see through this horrifying event, asking how we can respond to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in fact targets of racial terror, and confessing how through silence or passivity we have permitted this terror to live in American soil.