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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.
Each year, September marks many turning points for us: the daily sunset creeps in earlier and earlier, schools begin classes, pumpkin-spiced beverages are added to cafe menus, and Churches begin fall programming. This year, we have the added complexity of COVID-19 and our work to halt its spread. Fortunately, it appears that both deaths and new cases are declining, but we are far from where we need to be. Our usual September rhythm is different this year, and, although we are getting better at adapting to the ever-changing landscape of daily life, it is still difficult to feel grounded and steady amidst it all.
I encourage you to take some time for yourself this month, and find a place where you can rest your body and mind, if only for a short while. Try reciting a familiar psalm or meditate on a scripture story you know. Take a nap if you need to! Or find some water nearby, at your home or in at one of our natural waterways or bodies of water, and remember what God has done through water in our lives of faith. For, when we are baptized, God’s love is poured over us and into our hearts, and we are joined to both Christ and the Church in a bond that cannot be separated. Every time we touch or interact with water, we can remember our baptism and the holiness of the world and how God’s love permeates it all.
Stay safe, dear Church, and may God’s peace be with you in these continuing uncertain times.