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Commemoration of the Emanuel 9:
Special service from 6/17/20
Five years ago today a stranger was welcomed into Bible Study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. After the study ended, he opened fire, killing 9 of the people present in the name of white supremacy. The gunman grew up and was confirmed in an ELCA congregation, and is indicative of the continued, required work needed for us to repent of the sins of racism and white supremacy.
Today, along with our entire denomination, we commemorate the martyrdom of The Emanuel Nine. We give thanks for their faithful witness, grieve their deaths, and confess our own complicity in these systems of sin and death.
Take a few moments this evening to light a candle, participate in the brief liturgy (CLICK HERE FOR BULLETIN), and remember the lives of these siblings in faith. The video is below.
November marks significant turning points for us each year. The earth around us changes even more dramatically as Daylight Saving Time draws to a close; while our Sacred calendar lifts up the final festivals and feasts of the liturgical year. November 1st marks All Saints Sunday, that holy remembrance of those loved ones who have entered with Christ into the mystery of death this past year. And the end of the month draws us into Christ the King Sunday (also called ‘Reign of Christ’), reminding us of God’s presence with and sovereignty among all things, even when it seems impossible for such a thing to be true. And culturally we remember Thanksgiving, and the harvest that will help support us through the winter months.
And of course, this being an election year, November holds an extra measure of anxiety and worry, as we look at our national leadership and seek to elect those among us who can help work for the common good of all. It’s not an easy time of year, but it is important to be present, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, especially as this pandemic wears on and continues to leave us exhausted and discouraged. And so I leave you with the following prayer, adapted from our Evangelical Lutheran Worship resource, Pastoral Care:
"O God, the heavens declare your glory and tell of your work in creation. From you come the gifts of our bodies and minds, our skills and abilities, and the opportunities to use these gifts in sustaining our lives and in helping our neighbors. We pray for those whose livelihood is insecure; for those who are bearing heavy burdens and stressful times at home; for those whose work is tedious or dangerous; for those who have experienced failures or loss; and for all who face any difficulty in their lives. Surround them with your never-failing love; free them from restlessness and anxiety; keep them in every perplexity and distress; and renew them in facing the opportunities and challenges of daily living; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen."
- Pastor Paul