Sunday, January 14, 2018

Getting healthy has been the task from June to September. The interview took place prior to the 100th Anniversary of St. Philips Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, the oldest Black Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.  Reading and research have been task for the past two months, including, moving the "church" papers from Rev. Dr. James Gunther's childhood home to the archives at the Philadelphia Seminary.  

Those activities say more about my improving health, than anything else.  So my prayer is that there will be more postings as I move into the second year of the Louisville Institute grant.

Today the Philadelphia Chapter of the African Descent Lutheran Association will have a service of remembrance on the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration weekend.  As chapter chaplain attached you will find the prayer composed for this event.  The struggle continues.  The shape of the challenges morph due to our own expanding awareness, and the fear of change and loss by others.  After attending and 8:15 am service with folks of a variety of colors and countries, I share this prayer and the above thoughts for an update of who I am, and noting that God isn't finished with me yet.

Let Us Remember:
Leader: We gather together this day to remember a martyred servant of God, who died too young, but started his learning at the foot of his pastor father. We thank you God for Inspiring this Baptist pastor, who on a pilgrimage to Germany in 1934, not unlike others who traveled this year. Inspired by spiritual and pastoral challenges modeled by Luther, Michael King was inspired to change his name and the name of his first born Son.
Congregation: May we be inspired by God’s word daily.
Men: Some of us who remember being personally inspired by the ministry and the leadership of the son, Martin Luther King, Jr.  There may be among us some who met him when he lived and preached in Chester. Let us remember him for leadership that was nurtured in this corner of Pennsylvania.
Congregation: May we remember the fear and the pride inspired by this youthful pastor, from Montgomery.  With his leadership, and others just as young, we saw, we lived; we remember an early version of Black Lives Matter.
Women: Six months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, there was a 15 year old school girl, Claudette Colvin, who had paid her fare and refused to give up her seat, and was arrested during “Black History Month, in 1955.
Congregation: May we never forget those whose pathways we no longer have to walk.  May we remember those who prayed then for a better day, just was we do today.
Leader: In 1999 Black Lutherans from the United States, Europe, and the African Continent, gathered at Wittenberg, Germany; proclaimed that those of African Descent must incorporate their heritages and histories into the Lutheran Church tradition. We pray dear God that you, Keep us on our task.
Men: We learn about the Theology of the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We pray that the pain of the cross is not all we remember. Let us all be Blessed, like the women in Galilee, who were blessed by the surprise and wonder that comes from encountering the risen Christ.
Leader: Today we pray for comfort, courage and hope to all victims of oppression and injustice, not just here, but wherever the love of Christ needs to be heard and experienced.
Women: We pray that in our spiritual and daily conversations that we continue to address injustices in both local and global communities, for that is the work of communities of Christ.
Men: We pray that the Gospel leads us as Christians and Lutherans to highlight that God’s word has relevance to all cultures. We pray for God’s guidance in meeting the social, political, and spiritual need of All God’s people, as we encounter them.
Men: We know by our experience and the Word, that racial justice is God’s will. It is worthy of pursuit by all God’s people. Strengthen our faith; enables us and strengthen us, as we continue the struggle for racial justice.
Women: Let us call for the Global Lutheran Community to discuss freely and openly, the justice needed in our world today.  Guide all of your children in seeking gender justice, an end to spousal abuse and child abuse. Push us to pursue justice and righteousness for all.
ALL: Father and Savior, Let not this remembrance and prayer be only used on this national holiday, but as often as necessary to remind us, that we continue to walk together and accompany each other in lives of commitment and faithfulness to the love God has shown all of us a members of the God’s Family and Sisters and Brothers in Christ, AMEN.

RStewart, MLK Day 2018