Tag Archives: forgive

Day 14: A Pastoral Letter on Charlottesville 

I’m going to give way to a much better letter than I could have written  

From my Bishop:

To the people of God in the Upper Midwest Diocese.
18 August 2017
Beloved Family of God in the Upper Midwest Diocese:
Thank you for your prayers and support as my family took time for vacation (in the forests and lakes of Minnesota and Wisconsin) and study focus in July and early August. The Provincial Assembly was even stronger than I had hoped, but it was also even busier than I had anticipated, so I was thankful for family time and rest.
As is my usual discipline, I was offline as much as possible, so I did not learn of the Charlottesville tragedy until my return to Church of the Resurrection last Sunday morning. I am so thankful for our Archbishop’s pastoral letter that stated—unequivocally—that “racism is contrary to the Gospel and has no place in the Church.” It is right and good that any violence be denounced, and especially the violence of white supremacy. But we must go beyond right and holy denouncements to renewed determination.
I had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Michael Wright to hear how he and his people at True Freedom (an African-American church in Oak Park, IL that is in an intentional ministry partnership with our diocese) are processing Charlottesville. The first thing that Pastor Michael spoke of was revival—the great need for revival. May this be our determination as a diocese in light of not only Charlottesville, but also of the evils of racial injustice, violence, and the activity of the Kingdom of Darkness throughout our country. Jesus has given our diocese a mission: to plant a Revival of Word and Sacrament Infused by the Holy Spirit. This mission is the way forward as we seek to minister the fullness of the Gospel into every aspect of our culture. And let me be clear: that is precisely what we are seeking to do.
Toward that end, I want to invite those of us in Chicagoland to be a part of a ministry initiated by Pastor Michael and Canon William Beasley: they are calling our diocese to form multiple teams of about five people each to visit different African-American churches throughout the West Side of Chicago. The purpose of these visits will be to build friendship and Gospel communion with one another. This is the vision, as Pastor Michael and Canon William call it, of “walking across the street.”


Pastor Michael Wright praying at Provincial Assembly 2017.

Everyone is invited to join us on Saturday, September 16 for joint worship and an orientation for this new ministry opportunity. We will gather at the Greenhouse Mission Center in Oak Park, IL. More details will be forthcoming, and they will be sent out diocese-wide so that all can be praying. (If you already know that you want to be a part of one of these teams or have questions, please contact our cathedral Mission Director, Kaitlyn Wallett, at kaitlyn@churchrez.org.)
Other leaders in other regions of the diocese may be inspired to lead a similar ministry. Praise God, and please be in touch with Canon William if this is the case.
I am also thrilled to announce that Pastor Michael will be joining us at Church of the Resurrection to preach the Word of God on Sunday, October 1. There will be an opportunity to hear more from him in an afternoon seminar about his vision for deeper partnership between our diocese and African-American churches on the West Side. Audio recordings of both events will be distributed as well.
Please ensure that prayers are offered on Sunday in Prayers of the People for the people of Charlottesville, for the pushing back of the scourge of racism in our country, and for the work of revival in our diocese. And please make this a personal commitment as well. I also understand that many will not be able to attend the September 16 meeting, but will want to make a difference. For ideas on how you can respond, please listen to Pastor Matt Woodley’s recent sermon here.

 
Much love,


Bishop Stewart Ruch III
on behalf of the Deans of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest

Fr. Christian Ruch

Fr. Eirik Olsen

Canon and Missioner General William Beasley

All photos by Jill Fager, JM Photography.
Copyright © 2017 Diocese of the Upper Midwest, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Diocese of the Upper Midwest

935 W. Union Ave.Wheaton, IL 60187

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Day 11: We still have a dream

The Big Picture 

These words are still revolutionary and instructive to us now:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. ” 

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let’s make it personal 

Said another way: Judge No One by the color of their skin. Judge them by what they do and say, not some external facet beyond their control: place of birth, into a rich or poor family, orphaned or not, ethnic background, religious background, southerner or northerner, westerner or easterner, hue of skin or birth defect, male or female or chromosomal defect, lack of limbs or whole, physically attractive or plain looking, short or tall, large frame or small frame, native language, etc. 

There’s something that many Americans have trouble with, and I say this as someone who has lived outside the country about 15 years ago for a period of six years. I worked and traveled in Central and South America working for a Hong Kong based textile machinery company. Additionally my wife is not an American, which she reminds me of from time to time. So here’s the concept: many Americans have been taught (overtly or by implication) to assume only whites can be racist or prejudiced.  I can bear witness to the fact that this is not true. Indigenous peoples all over the America’s are looked down upon. They are domestic help that are treated poorly and paid even worse. Many Spanish speaking countries use a whole list of pejoratives when speaking about blacks. Certain countries are extremely ethnically proud in a way that makes a lot of flag waving Americans look tepid. The Arab owners of textile factories had open disdain for the local workers. The rich oppressed the poor and the poor stole and abused other poor people who were weaker than they. 

Break the chains 

In my post yesterday I simply posted the two biggest set of verses that I thought were most relevant to race and other external differences. I wrote a the very list above for a reason: there are many subtle factors that work into our brains and souls and hearts over the years. We sin against others and they sin against us. These wounds build up and then resentment sets in. 

Psychologists refer to this as “baggage”. 

And that baggage needs to be dropped at the foot of the Cross of Christ. The perfect Son of God hung on a tree for all our sins. He came to his own people and they rejected Him. He suffered the greatest injustice. He was whipped and scourged for our transgressions. 

WE ARE ALL SINNERS. 

WE HAVE ALL SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. 

So leave the baggage. The King has forgiven us. We must forgive. See others as GOD sees them: made in the image of the Most Holy GOD. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Between Two Criminals 

Last Sunday our church had a dramatic reading of Luke’s account of the trial and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ (see scripture below). 

Maybe I’m a bit dull, but I never saw the simple choice that is presented in that recounting of the death of our Lord. Jesus, the God-man without stain or blemish, is raised on a cross between two criminals meeting their just end. 

One hurls insults and derision on Yeshua, (Jesus’s name in Hebrew.) He mocks him, in the same manner that the religious elite do, “save yourself”. Jesus is essentially mocked for claiming to be the person that He is. The Truth is mocked for claiming to be Truth. 

The other sees his own sin. He makes no excuses, no rationalizing of his actions. He sees his own inability to save himself. He sees the stark Truth, that Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, is being killed unjustly. And he asks Jesus to remember him, to look with pity upon him. 

So the choice stands before us all. Will we acknowledge our sin, our crimes against a Holy and Righteous GOD or hurl insults at the Chosen One of God? There is none righteous, no not one. 

God have mercy on us. 

________________________

Luke 23: 32-43 (ESV) 
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.  And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.  And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine  and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  There was also an inscription over him,“This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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