NOTE FROM PASTOR JR FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
This Sunday is the Sixth Sunday of Kingdomtide. The assigned gospel text from Mark 9, and other readings this week challenged my thinking and definitions of inclusion and hospitality.
In Rev. Michael Piazza’s Tuesday’s Liberating Word, he shared from Bishop Yvette Flunder’s book “Where the Edge Gathers,” which begins with an extensive quote from theologian Letty Russell’s book, “Church in the Round.”
Dr. Russell asserts the communion table should be that around which the community gathers. She states: “The critical principle of feminist ecclesiology is a table principle. It looks for ways that God reaches out to include all those whom society and religion have declared outsiders and invites them to gather round God’s table of hospitality. The measure of the adequacy of the life of a church is how it is connected to those on the margins, whether those, as the Bible calls “the least” are receiving the attention to their needs for justice and hope.” (Matthew 25:40)
Then Rev. Piazza says that “Bishop Flunder calls this an explicit call for the inclusion of the marginalized and it offers a challenging notion of what it means to be Christian community. In order to create a viable community, hospitality and inclusivity are essential.”
Pondering the assigned text for Sunday, made me question if in our fierce advocacy for inclusion of marginalized peoples and communities; have we unintentionally built barriers excluding hospitality and inclusivity to those “not with us,” (those working for “the empire” but who use their positions of authority to do good for people)?” Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us, is for us.” Perhaps we need to open our minds and hearts to ensure hospitality and inclusivity is also extended to them.
Join us at Covenant for worship this Sunday in-person, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream as I explore this question in my sermon “Whoever is NOT Against Us is for Us,” based on Mark 9:38-50.