Scroll down to find links to the service material for 14 June 2020.
Our Bishop, The Rt. Rev’d Eugene Taylor Sutton, has both spoken and written in moving ways about our current national experience, which he has characterized as the intersection of three viruses.
Here is the statement he released on Tuesday, 2 June 2020, and I can’t recommend it enough. I know that trying to sort through all of what you hear and see during these weeks is exhausting, but this is one document that you should not pass up as TLDR*.
I have followed the events following the murder of George Floyd as fully and as carefully as possible, and I want to make it clear that I continue to believe that “Black Lives Matter,” as I asserted about 18 months ago in a sermon. (Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to root through our archives to find which Sunday it was.) To say “Black Lives Matter,” rather than “All Lives Matter,” makes it clear that even people like me — the scion of relatively recent immigrants from Poland — are beneficiaries of the centuries of enslaved labor we subjected our black and brown skinned sisters and brothers to. And as such, we have some reparations to make, especially in the matter of moral behavior.
I have not been a huge fan of the Reverend Al Sharpton, but I have to say that his eulogy for George Floyd was one of his most moving efforts. He quoted from Koheleth, “the Preacher” and author of the Book of Ecclesiastes — which we have been reading last week and this as part of our Compline service at 8:45 each evening. His sermon sent me back decades, and inspired recollections of where I first heard the words about times and seasons. Like some of you, I was inspired by the music about workers’ rights, civil rights, and the many difficult issues that surfaced during the War in Vietnam, by singers like Woodie Guthrie, Josh White, Malvina Reynolds, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and most especially Pete Seeger. I learned to sing “Where have all the Flowers Gone?” and “If I had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” in elementary school, and many more of his protest songs in the late 60’s. The reference to the text in Sharpton’s sermon sent me to the internet to see what was out there, and I was not disappointed. There are a couple of videos of Seeger singing solo, but this one of the duet with Judy Collins brought back some memories (even if she looses a couple of words here and there).
Seeger was always willing to share credit for his work, and was remarkably transparent about how his songs came together from one source or another. This can be seen in one of many extant interviews with him about “Turn, Turn, Turn” and other pieces.
Though many of us have thought this at times in the past — in 1991 when Rodney King asked “Why can’t we all just get along?”, and in many times more recently at the deaths of black men like Freddie Gray — maybe now is the time when the seasons are changing. Maybe now is the time to cast away stones, and heal rather than kill, to embrace rather than hate.
Another salient point of the song is that “everything that goes around comes around,” and so it should not surprise us that the poetry of Ecclesiastes and the music of Pete Singer ring out once again.
*TLDR = “Too Long, Didn’t Read”
Links for Sunday, 14 June 2020
The files for the Service Script for Sunday, 14 June 2020 and for the Sunday School lesson are found below. As usual, if your young people complete one of the crafts, please snap a picture and email it along for posting. Office @ emmanuelbelair .org will do the trick.
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Mark Gatza, Rector