1/24/2021 0 Comments
The Sunday Sermon & 2020 Priest's Annual Report: Speak, Lord, for Your Servants are Listening
By the Reverend Sally S. Weaver
In the wake of the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd this past summer, we at St. John’s Tower Grove, along with the rest of the country, began to ask ourselves: how are we complicit in maintaining the system of racial inequity that allows these events to happen again and again?
We have been hard at work asking difficult questions and putting together a series of educational opportunities to help us continue in this self-reflection. As a result of this work, St. John’s Tower Grove is proud to launch a new speaker series aimed at facilitating discussions surrounding race, power, and privilege in our community.
To kick off the inaugural event, we have secured Wendy Werner, founding board member, past chair, and current vice-chair of ArchCity Defenders as our speaker for the evening.
ArchCity Defenders is a holistic legal advocacy organization that combats the criminalization of poverty and state violence, especially in communities of color. ArchCity Defenders’ foundation of civil and criminal legal representation, social services, impact litigation, policy and media advocacy, and community collaboration achieves and inspires justice and equitable outcomes for people throughout the St. Louis region and beyond.
Please join us on Sunday, January 31st at 6pm via zoom:
Meeting ID: 823 8780 7279; Passcode: 641467
By the Reverend Sally S. Weaver
Pastor Sally gave this sermon on January 3, 2021.
Just as we do with the weather, the Church marks time in seasons. Beginning Nov 29, we celebrated the Church season of Advent for 4 weeks. Then on Dec 25, we began celebrating the season of Christmas. How long is the Church season of Christmas? I’ll give you a hint – “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” Yes, it’s 12 days long, which means it ends on the night of Jan 5. For you Shakespeare buffs, his play Twelfth Night refers to the last day of Christmas; it was written to be performed on Jan 5.
On Jan 6 we begin the season of Epiphany. We’re moving Epiphany up a bit, celebrating it today (Jan 3), since we’re together on Sundays. What is the important event that we remember on Jan 6, the day of the Epiphany? Yes, the arrival of the wise men who come to visit the baby Jesus.
But why in the world is it called “the Epiphany” rather than “the arrival of guys with gifts.” An epiphany happens when we suddenly understand or see something that we didn’t before. It’s an “ah ha!” moment. Have you ever had the experience of trying to put something back together and you can’t figure out how it goes. You try and you try. Then all of a sudden it’s clear – you have an epiphany -- you see how to reconstruct it.
So we said that the Epiphany celebrates the visit of the wise men bearing gifts to the baby Jesus. If this is an epiphany, what is it that is revealed? What is suddenly clear that wasn’t before? What is made clear is: that Jesus is not just for a certain, select group of people called the Jews. Jesus is for everyone. The wise men who visit Jesus are not Jewish. In the place where Jesus lived, people who weren’t Jews were called “Gentiles.” The wise men were Gentiles.
Various members of the St. John's congregation contribute to this blog. For editorial suggestions, contact Jeff McIntire-Strasburg at email@example.com
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