The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to walk in solidarity with our brown and black sisters and brothers in the work of Undoing Racism. To this end, as many of you have now heard, we are asked to pray on the way to action as a congregation. On June 28th we will gather after worship for a Community Meeting to discuss our initial feelings and thoughts. If the Spirit so leads, we may even make some decisions on the 28th about some short term steps we might take as a community to make a difference: further study and discussion, linking arms with a local organization or organizations, placing a Black Lives Matter sign on the front lawn of the church, or other ideas you bring.

One thing is certain: we cannot stay silent as a Church, even though some or many of us may feel ill-equipped to know what to do or how to do it.

To the Point: At the end of this note you will find several resources for growing our understanding of what we can do to show up for Racial Justice. On Sunday, June 28th after worship we will hold a Community Meeting to talk and pray more together. In the meantime, I invite us examine these and other resources, join the ELCA commemoration (https://www.elca.org/emanuelnine) happening on June 17th, and commit ourselves to prayer, action, and more prayer. In the face of many, many resources being circulated, and many organizations and ways to help being shared, we might unintentionally shut down and not do anything. I charge us not to fall into this trap! Pick one thing today or this week; one resource listed below or another you have found. Dive deep, pray hard, and then bring your ideas and thoughts to our gathering on June 28th so that together we may grow stronger for the sake of Christ’s redeeming work in Undoing Racism.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I imagine that you are horrified - as am I - by all of the racist acts taking place around our country. These fly in the face of our understanding of how God has created all of humanity in God’s image, therefore making all lives equal and precious. I sent an invitation to our Council last week, and am now inviting us all - the people of Redeemer, as a community of faith for the world - to enter a time of prayer and action so that we might be "useful in Christ's Hands" in the work of Undoing Racism. This invitation starts now, and will likely stretch forever forward, for as long as the scourge of racism and other “isms” exist on this side of heaven, we will need Christ to equip us with the courage to rise up for the sake of Christ’s justice and love.

Remembering the things that are really important: this is one of the blessings that can come out of tumultuous times like those in which we are currently living. Remembering might sound like a relatively easy activity to pull off, but it can actually require quite a bit of effort.

Paul, in his letter to the fledgling Christian community in Rome, tells them that he is always “remembering them in prayer.” (Romans 1:9) Which might remind us that there’s a difference between merely remembering (bringing something or someone to mind), and taking initiative or doing an actual action of good (such as prayer) for them. Paul was very busy planting Christian communities in multiple locations, but he took time to have this letter written down and delivered so that the gospel efforts of the people of Rome could be encouraged.

These are tough and even agonizing times that we are living through right now. As individuals, families, faith communities, nation, and world we are in the midst of the kind of major historical events that will be written about and considered for years to come. Yet we are living this history right now, laboring through it and seeking to understand from day to day what we should be doing and what this all means; for family, faith community, nation, and world.

We as Church and people of striving faith are desperately needed during these times; to hold space for the tough questions raised and wrestling and interpreting needed. Now, more than ever, we need communities like Redeemer for worship, for Bible Study, to guide and direct our efforts to help the wider community and world, and for laughter at coffee hour and Community Fun Nights. We may be moving in virtual territories now, but the real connections and depth of relationships being built by Christ among us for the sake of the world are more vibrant than ever, thanks be to God.