The Face of Change

August 6, 2017

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Feast of the Transfiguration
Exodus 34:29-35; 2 Peter 1:13-21; Luke 9:28-36

Listen here, or read below:

This past Monday my parents and I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. [Check that off my Atlanta bucket list!] It’s interesting to see what’s chosen to depict someone’s life. In the childhood section, among other household items, one display box held a pair of crystal salt and pepper shakers. This seemed an odd contrast to the images, on the opposite wall, of little Jimmy’s playmates, the African American children of peanut-farm workers.

An exhibit highlighting the Camp David Peace Accords revealed the careful and persistent mediation Carter provided to guide the unlikely peace agreement between the leaders of Egypt and Israel. I wondered if he didn’t first develop these negotiation skills at his family dinner table. You see, his father was a staunch segregationist, while his mother, a trained nurse, didn’t hesitate to cross segregation lines in the 1920s to provide health care counseling to poor African American women. Navigating the complexity of diverse views, even within our own families, continues still. So, while Carter inherited the infamous peanut farm from his father, he undoubtedly adopted the social consciousness of his mother.  Read the rest of this entry »

Who are we?

June 18, 2015

As I awoke this morning I learned about the shooting that killed 9 people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC last night. Although there are many other things on my to-do list for the day, I couldn’t get my mind off this tragic event. As I sat with Facebook in front of me, I posted these words:

Surreace Cox, of North Charleston, S.C., holds a sign during a prayer vigil down the street from the Emanuel AME Church early Thursday, June 18, 2015, following a shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

AP Photo/David Goldman

There are so many things about the shootings in Charleston last night that are troubling, infuriating, heartbreaking…demoralizing. This kind of hate is learned behavior, which means someone, many I’m afraid, are still teaching it. It’s a perpetuation of learned ignorance that is reprehensible! There are many who don’t want to talk about these types of issues.

AP_CHARLESTONSHOOTING_150618_DG_4x3_992

AP Photo/David Goldman

There are many who don’t want to talk about these types of issues. They see these acts of violence as isolated incidents that don’t reflect the broader reality. They want to hold onto the belief that “we have come so far.” But, to look at this incident and not see how far yet we still have to go, is to walk around in denial. Hate breeds hate; fear breeds fear… and it’s not what we are called to as having been made in God’s image.

Today we pray and mourn, but, if tomorrow we do not act, then who are we?

 

Shortly after posting this, I turned on the news and learned that they had caught the suspect: Dylann Storm Roof, a 21 year old white man. Dylann-Roof-351x254Twenty-one – a time in life when one’s convictions are untouchable and impulse control is weak. Yet, it seems there may have been points along the way when these convictions could have been assuaged. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

2nd Sunday after Epiphany – RCL Year A

Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Cor 1:1-9, John 1:29-42

If you were here on Christmas morning you heard me talk about God breaking into our lives with the coming of Jesus into the world. I shared my own tendencies through the years to keep my life “safe and unchanged” within the comfort of darkness. But Jesus’ presence was God’s way of turning on a new light, and once we are exposed to this light, the world appears differently and we are called to respond differently in it.

Now, with the Christmas season behind us, we face the weeks between Epiphany and Lent. It’s a time in the church year when we focus on the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah. This is a central theme of the Gospel of John, where Jesus is explicitly revealed, right up front, as the one who was sent by God and was with God from the very beginning.

In the first verses of Genesis, when darkness covered the face of the deep, God said, “Let there be light; and there was light.” And now, in John’s gospel the creation story is retold:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… In Him was life and the life was the Light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn 1:1-2,4-5, NASB).

Read the rest of this entry »

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