Lighting the candle requires multiple tools and actions. Hands to manipulate the match and candle. Fuel to ignite the spark. Oxygen to feed the flame. All these elements exemplify interconnection and dependency on each other in order to move from potential to reality.
Hope permits us to seek connection and support. Hope suggests that we are never alone. God is present to us. And we are designed to be in community with others.
Tangible hope shows up as relationships. Embodied by family, friends, and community. Showing up through family, partners, companions, classmates, collaborators, colleagues, care providers, mentors, peers or acquaintances. Put into practice by churches, schools, workplaces, classrooms, creative spaces, teams, workshops, clubs, charitable organizations, or public agencies.
Hope invites vulnerability and models strength through these connections. Hope admits that we require help. Says we don’t know all the answers or have enough resources to do it alone. Acknowledges that we belong to each other and need each other. Hope reaches out to offer or opens up to receive support and connection. — Rev Gail
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your words. — Psalm 119:147
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope. —Maya Angelou
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela
Do you need support of any kind? We have volunteers ready to assist with errands, access to emergency supplies, and Rev Gail is available for emotional and spiritual companionship. Email the church: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAUNDY THURSDAY GATHERING (via ZOOM) 7pm • ZOOM LINK: zoom.us/j/467763000 (password required). Plan to celebrate an after-dinner ritual of washing hands (symbolic of foot-washing), stripping altar, and putting out candles as darkness falls and we enter the Triduum: three holy days of Easter weekend. Option: call in via touch-tone phone: 929.436.2866, meeting ID: 467763000 (password required – contact: email@example.com)).
WAY of the CROSS Live-streaming via Facebook.com/JacksonCommunityChurch & JCC website Virtual contemplative journey through stations of the cross. Share where you would direct your prayers for each station of the cross, Rev Gail will post reflections at different Jackson and Bartlett locations to symbolize each station of the cross. This will take place throughout the week, but we especially welcome your comments during the hours of Christ’s crucifixion and death. We will use Marcia McFee / Design Worship Studio materials to focus.
VIRTUAL EASTER SERVICE (via ZOOM) 10:30am • ZOOM LINK:zoom.us/j/142985761 (password required) Join us for worship, special music including flute duet by Lauren Weeder & Jeanette Heidmann, choral performance by JCC’s choir & harp with Dominique Dodge, plus prayer, reflection and interactive transformation of the cross with butterflies on this special Easter Sunday! Service will also be live-streamed to website and Facebook, and afterward, recordings of service will be posted to FB, youtube, vimeo. Option: Call on touch-tone phone: 929.436.2866, meeting ID# 142985761. (password required – contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
BUTTERFLY the CROSS All Day • Jackson Community Church (outside) All day on Easter Sunday, you may add a butterfly to the cross, which will stand outside the church (weather permitting), or take one home, if you need an Easter symbol. If you can’t be here, send us your prayers and we’ll add your butterfly for you.
On the parable of the Good Samaritan: “I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
what families, kindred, groups, teams, clubs, faiths, organizations,
tribes, nationalities, ethnicities, regions, businesses, workplaces,
unions, schools, etc. do you affiliate, connect, identify and/or hold
membership? Name them. How many ways do you belong to communities?
When have you felt like a ‘stranger in a strange land’ or an ‘other’ vs a friend or neighbor or a community member?
What changed helped you connect?
a well-known story like this one, with thieves and a person knocked
down and robbed on the side of the road, plus public figures who walk
around the problem and leave the victim unattended as they make excuses,
and another person from an reviled neighboring nation who pays
attention and helps the victim by the road, plus an innkeeper who
continues to care for the victim, with whom do you identify in the
story? Who do you want to be? Who do you think you are right now?
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (song lyrics) It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood, A neighborly day for a beauty, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you, I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you. So let’s make the most of this beautiful day, Since we’re together, we might as well say, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you please, Won’t you please, Please won’t you be my neighbor?
Learn more: About your own implicit biases via this Harvard site! Different tests/surveys for different topics.
Defining Implicit Bias (from Kirwan Institute, Ohio State University): Also
known as implicit social cognition, implicit bias refers to the
attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and
decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both
favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and
without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Residing deep
in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that
individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or
political correctness. Rather, implicit biases are not accessible
implicit associations we harbor in our subconscious cause us to have
feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such
as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance. These associations develop
over the course of a lifetime beginning at a very early age through
exposure to direct and indirect messages. In addition to early life
experiences, the media and news programming are often-cited origins of
A Few Key Characteristics of Implicit Biases
Implicit biases are pervasive. Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs. They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favorour own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.
Implicit biases are malleable. Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.
Thoughts on Neighbors & Good Samaritans
good to remember that in crises, natural crises, human beings forget
for awhile their ignorances, their biases, their prejudices. For a
little while, neighbors help neighbors and strangers help strangers. — Maya Angelou
On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s
roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to
see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and
women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their
journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin
to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that
an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ― Martin Luther King Jr.
… and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near
neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side… — Quran 4:36 (excerpt)
To be truly good means more than not robbing people …To be truly good
means more than being righteously religious …To be truly good means
being a good neighbor … And to be a good neighbor means recognizing
that there are ultimately no strangers … Everybody is my neighbor! …
Everybody is my brother! … We’re all connected. ― Brian McLaren
Like the Good Samaritan, may we not be ashamed of touching the wounds of
those who suffer, but try to heal them with concrete acts of love. — Pope Francis
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. — Rumi
The Prophet, , said: “By the One in whose Hands my soul is, no slave of
Allah has true faith unless he likes for his neighbor what he likes for
himself.” — IslamicHadith
When we love and make loving commitments, we create families and
communities within which people can grow and take risks, knowing that
hands will be there to catch them should they fall.— Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The
tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction
in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex
systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but
an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every
spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of
kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ”ordinary” efforts of a
vast majority. We have a duty, almost a holy responsibility, to record
and honor the victorious weight of these innumerable little kindnesses,
when an unprecedented act of evil so threatens to distort our perception
of ordinary human behavior — Stephen Gould
So by all means let us name evil for what it is, let’s root out the sin
and racism within us, let us fight for justice, but then let us turn the
cameras toward the light, lest we become so consumed by the effects of
evil that we miss the chance to be kind to a stranger, and we miss the
chance to stop and read to our kids and we miss the chance to notice how
acts of beauty and kindness out number acts of evil by the thousands,
because in so doing we hand evil a bigger victory than it earned when in
fact it has already lost. See, in the same 24 hour news cycle that only
can speak of evil –
babies were born
and people feel in love
and someone put an old lady’s shopping cart back for her
and caseroles were bright to the home-bound
and prayers were said
and little girls made brand new friends
and someone paid for the coffe of the person behind them in line
and flowers were brought to the Dallas police department
and children made perfectly mis-spelled protest signs
and people made up
and someone in the coffee shop let me hold their baby because they could tell I needed it
when … car broke down in the middle of nowhere during his vacation,
someone came along at just the right moment and towed it 126 miles …
and Every second of every day our God arrives unannounced in the merciful and loving kindness of other people … — Nadia Bolz-Weber
A prospective convert to Judaism asked Rabbi Hillel to teach him the entire Torah while he stood on one leg. Hillel replied: “That which is hateful unto you do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole of the Torah, the rest is commentary. Go forth and study.” — Robert Avrech
Poem posted by ‘onlylovepoetry’ on hellopoetry.com:
I inquired of the holy dark where god hides why my existence was just one unending question?
… could hear Him smile and communicate: if not You, then who?
… love thy neighbor as thyself
… then, smiling, god extended his only finger, touching each of mine eyelids:
sleep, friend for we need your questioning dreams, your faith unfurled unfulfilled for in your unending inquiry is all of our “in the beginning,” the holy dark
Commentary on Good Samaritan Story
Locating our … inclinations … from the perspective of the different
characters can be one … way to go — the priest, the Levite, the guy
left in the ditch, the Samaritan, the innkeeper. We all want to be the
Samaritan, but truth be told, we aren’t — at least, not all of the
time. And, every once in a while, it does our faith good to stand in the
shoes of the people whom we do not want to be (or hope we are not). — Karoline Lewis
Deep wounds are not easily healed. But the Good Samaritan poured oil and
wine into the wounds of the stranger who lay helpless on the road to
Jericho, and set him on the road to recovery. Each one of us can go and
do likewise. ― John LaFarge
We have to go through life behaving as if we love each other. We can
behave ourselves into love. This training of love for the world can
start small. We might not start out by stopping for every stranger in
need that we see or giving away all of our money and possessions or
moving to the streets in solidarity with the homeless. We can start
where we are. We can help out even when we don’t have to. We can stop
keeping track of who has done what to wrong us or who is taking
advantage of the system. Instead of keeping track of our losses, we can
keep track of gratitude. We can share with people who haven’t had the
lucky breaks that we have had. It’s not enough, however, to love the
people who are easy to love. It’s much harder to love those who are have
behaved in horrible ways. But we must love them too. In fact, it might
be the more important task. — Kristen Berkey-Abbott
What does the Good Samaritan do? Three things, I’d suggest. First, he sees
the man in need, when he was invisible to the priest and Levite who
passed him by. Actually, they did see him, and then promptly ignored
him. They saw him, but not as a neighbor, perceiving him instead to be a
burden, and perhaps even a threat. … Second, the Samaritan not only
sees the man in need as a neighbor, but he draws near to him,
coming over to help. The other two gave this man in need a wide berth,
creating even more distance between them. But the Samaritan instead goes
to him, and becomes vulnerable in that closeness. Vulnerable should it
indeed be a trap, but even more so, vulnerable in opening himself to see
his pain, misery, and need. … Third, after seeing him and coming close,
the Samaritan has compassion on him, tending his wounds,
transporting him to the inn, making sure he is taken care of. Seeing is
vital, drawing near imperative, yet the final and meaningful gesture is
that the Samaritan actually does something about it.
Compassion, in this sense, is sympathy put into action. And these three
inter-related moves – seeing, drawing near, and having compassion –
offer us an example of what it is to be Christ-like … — David Lose
And so Jesus brings this home by choosing the most unlikely of
characters to serve as the instrument of God’s mercy and grace and
exemplify Christ-like behavior. That’s what God does: God chooses people
no one expects and does amazing things through them. Even a Samaritan.
Even our people. Even me. Even you. — David Lose
Instead, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, the point of which
seems to be that your neighbor is to be construed as meaning anybody who
needs you. The lawyer’s response is left unrecorded. — Frederick Beuchner
It seems to me, contrary to our culture that is obsessed with all things
“spectacular”, that it is when we are engaged in the most mundane
activities that we make the most difference in another person’s life.
When you get right down to it, that’s the only place we can really make
much of a difference in the life of another human being. We mortals
rarely achieve the level of influence that can truly make a difference
for hundreds or thousands of people out there. For the most part, we
have the opportunity to touch a life here, a life there. It is through
the quality of our character, not anything “spectacular” that we may do,
that we make a difference in another life. It is through the way in
which we conduct our relationships, not through any great “achievement,”
that we really have an effect on another human being. — Alan Brehm
This is a strange time for acting as actual neighbors. But that doesn’t
change the point of the parable. It cuts through all our excuses about
our customary practice, our usual public statements, and asks if we are
doing mercy. Or not. — Richard Swanson