Saturday, June 6, 2020

From Mother Vicki

From Mother Vicki

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.     T

he Collect for Trinity Sunday

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

George Floyd, May 25, 2020 (Minneapolis MN), Breonna Taylor, March 13, 2020 (Louisville KY), Stephon Clark, March 18, 2018 (Sacramento CA), Deborah Danner, October 18, 2016 (Bronx NY), Philando Castile, July 6, 2016 (St. Paul MN), Alton Sterling, July 5, 2016 (Baton Rouge LA), Jamar Clark, November 15, 2015 (Minneapolis MN), Freddie Gray, April 19, 2015 (Baltimore MD), Walter Scott, April 4, 2015 (North Charleston, SC), Tamir Rice, November 22, 2014 (Cleveland OH), Laquan McDonald, October 20, 2014 (Chicago IL), Michael Brown, 9 August 2014 (Ferguson MO), Eric Garner, 17 July 2014 (Staten Island NY).  These are just a few of the names of men and women of color who have died at the hands of the police in the last few years.  How achingly painful is this murderous piece of American history.  No wonder the streets are filled with protestors. Protests have been recorded in 140 US cities. The eight minutes and forty-six seconds of silence at George Floyd's Memorial Service on Thursday was a long time, and a poignant reminder of the length of time that Floyd was pinned down until the breath went out of him. Preaching at his service, Rev. Al Sharpton pointed out the disparity of being held down and kept back because of race, and, after giving examples of prominent and highly successful people of color, he said, "Like George, we couldn't breathe, because we couldn't get your knee of our necks." And then he finally shouted, "Get your knee off our necks!"

This is sometimes hard for white people to hear.  We like to think that we're not prejudiced; we don't behave that way. But the truth is, the society in which we live is not great for everyone.  It is much more dangerous to be a person of color, it much more dangerous to be a young man who is black.  The systemic racism and white supremacy that has ruled our nation for far too long has to stop.  We are a nation divided with government voices insisting in myriad ways that we stay divided. This is not Christ's message of love.  This is not who we are as the people of God.

On Sunday, we celebrate the Trinity--Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This theological concept of the three in one and one in three is a profound reminder that we cannot control nor can we understand God.  There is a mystery surrounding the One who creates, redeems and sanctifies us.  We have been made in the image of God, and not only are we good, the Bible says that we are "very good"  (Genesis 1:31).

Do not be deceived.  It is difficult to follow Christ.  As Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan, so are we.  We can count on being badgered by "the cosmic powers of this present darkness...the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)  It is hard to become the Beloved Community.  It is painful to love our enemies.  It is very difficult in the midst of grieving over the loss of loved ones and friends due to COVID-19, to add to that a national mourning over the death of George Floyd revealing the imperfect state of America.  The Preamble to our Constitution reminds us that its purpose is "to form a more perfect Union."  Our failure to do so is tragic.

And yet, there is hope.  Our faith in God allows us to hope that the winds of the Spirit will provide a great change.  I see this hope in the faces of all different kinds of people all across America, in every state and in hundreds of cities and towns, who are peacefully marching for "Black Lives Matter," who are calling out, "I can't breathe!" Jesus calls us to love one another, to have compassion for each other, to bother to figure out what it's like to stand in someone else's shoes, especially if that person is young and black.  And then to do our part to make sure our knee isn't on anyone else's neck.

This Trinity Sunday, Jason Slayden is singing an old favorite, Hymn 362 "Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!" God is in charge.  The words to the third verse (text by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826) are: "Holy, holy holy! Though the darkness hide thee, though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see, only thou are holy; there is none beside thee, perfect in power, in love, and purity." Shaadira and Lailani Smith and Deborah DeBride do a wonderful job of reading the entire story of the seven days of Creation from the first Book of Genesis, reminding us of the sheer beauty of creation and the gift of life itself. Kelly and Anthony Giannone add a beautiful rendition of the Psalm 8 ("What is man that you should be mindful of him?").  And Kenneth Leacock offers a moving recording of the last few verses of Second Corinthians, ending with the familiar Trinitarian blessing, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."

For the prayers, Bob and I use "A Litany for America's Sins of Racism" adapted from a litany posted by the Episcopal Church in Minneapolis.  We continue to pray for George Floyd and all who have died as a result of the systemic racism throughout our history.

We are also praying for God's healing grace on those almost 2 million Americans who have or have had COVID-19, including Carmen Hanchard and Martha Wright. Please pray for Jason Slayden and his family.  His aunt Jackie McKernan just died, and another aunt and uncle Kathleen and Gustavo Aguilera Torres both have the virus very seriously. We pray also for God's healing grace for Anthony Giannone Sr., Lynette Lewis and Aida Carino.

Congratulations to Peter Walsh Sr. who was 80 on Wednesday.  And we rejoice in Vera Johnson's birthday on Sunday!  Hooray!

Our prayers continue for all who have died, including the 110,522 Americans who have died from COVID-19 as of Friday.  We are also so sorry to hear that Corey Tabb, Yonkers resident and friend of the Hendersons and DeBrides, has just died.  May he rest in God's peace.

Please join us on Trinity Sunday for our worship service, which will be sent out by email at 7:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 7th. If you know of someone who would like to be on our email list, they can sign up at yonkerschurch.org (scroll down and at the bottom of the lighter green column on the right side, click on "Sign up for our Email List"). If you are NOT receiving these emails and had been in the past, please sign up again!  It probably means that you hit "unsubscribe" by mistake.  As it turns out with this particular system, we cannot unsubscribe you, and cannot subscribe you back again if that has happened.

Please feel free to join us for our Zoom coffee hour, which we are holding on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to about 12:10 p.m.!  It is a great blessing to see your faces and hear your voices.  You can always call in even if you can't get Zoom. The link is below.

We are thrilled that Kelly Giannone and Jen Longley are working on restarting on Youth Program.  Stay tuned for more information!

We are living in a difficult time, but we have faith and hope that the Spirit moving over the waters, who gives us the gift of life, will inspire us to love each other more profoundly.  Stay safe, dear people of God, wear your masks, and keep the faith!
Trinity blessings, joy and much love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota
mothervsirota@gmail.com; cell phone 443 257 9963

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