Second Week of Advent
Marian Boyle Rohloff
- Introduction (5 min.)
- Second Session “God’s Deliverance”
- Story Sharing Tory Reid
- Scripture Isaiah 40:1-11
Review of Handout – Rules for Respectful (Faithful) Conversation
Opening Prayer & Scripture (5 min.)
Story Sharing Tory Reid (15-20 min)
Reflection (5 min)
Get you up to a high mountain! The word of our God will stand forever! This is the good news we are to proclaim when we see the grass wither and the flowers fade. Because they will, that is what grass and flowers do. Isaiah, the prophet, explains to God that the people are grass. We wither and fade.
In this time of a pandemic, racial injustice, violence, and malice of word and deed we may feel like our nation is withering and fading, or going down in a blaze like the forest fires out West. But our God commands us to get ourselves up to a high mountain and speak, to cry out.
In this wilderness we are in, we are to prepare the way for a God who will come with might and gentleness, with a strong arm of recompense, ready to enfold us in his arms and carry us in her bosom. God will feed us and gently lead the mother sheep.
Let us say and believe that we are in a new time this Advent of 2020. Some say we are in a “third reconstruction” of our nation as it pertains to racial justice. We have abolished slavery, fought for civil rights and now….what?
Having lived the reality of being questioned, detained, and chased by those who are committed to protect and serve, Tory still shared a hope of eradicating racism. He said that white Moravians need to look in the mirror and educate themselves on their privilege and figure out how to use it for the good of God’s order. This can be done.
Had the store owner in Tory’s reality, not chased after the police who were chasing after Tory and his track team, things could have gone very differently. Those who have power must be ready to run to and stand with those who are oppressed and make sure things go right, not wrong.
Tory shared the wisdom of James Baldwin with us: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
We can and must face racism in this nation. God is commanding us to get to a high mountain and make some noise. Not just noise, but speak the word and promise of God. Things can be made straight and right again. Mountains and hills can humble themselves and valleys can be lifted up. When we work against oppression (make things straight again) then we are better able to see and understand the full GLORY (essence) of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Questions for discussion (15 minutes)
- How were you able to empathize with Tory’s real-life instances of racial profiling?
- What new things have you learned about racism in America this past year?
- Rev. William Barber, a pastor and activist from North Carolina, speaks of a “Third Reconstruction,” a time like in the past when black and white people of faith worked together to create change. The language of a third reconstruction suggests that we are in a time now that is calling once again for a fusion of faith and politics by people from various races and classes in response to systematic racism. Do you feel this is happening? Do you sense a backlash against this fusion of faith and politics and anti-racism? Do you feel a hope in the midst of it all that includes you and your actions? How so? Or why not?
Closing Prayer (5 minutes)