Advent Daily Devotional: Day 11

Wed, Dec 9 – DAY 11

Peace may require healing, too. It could involve addressing internal hurts and histories. What do you need to reclaim your whole and holy self? To make your own wellbeing a priority, as you would another’s? 

Healing may also be a bodily experience. Perhaps you live with a condition, craving, disease, diagnosis, wound or other circumstance that has changed your connection to your own physical being? Peace may come with caring for your body’s needs. Peace also evolves by accepting changes that have occurred for your flesh-and-bones self, then learning how to live as fully as possible, adapting to the reality of changed abilities or health-related scenarios. Peace may require re-framing how you understand your wellbeing.

Or perhaps healing happens by addressing strained and broken relationships. Rebuilding sustainable and healthy relationships may occur with sufficient time and attention. Connections that you want to rekindle may involve resumed contact and rebuilt bridges. Cherished bonds deserve communication and presence. Also in your life, some relationships must be re-evaluated. Perhaps you know of people with whom you need to establish healthier boundaries, clarity of roles, or complete closure.

What parts of your life might become peaceful through healing, with tender and compassionate attention? — Rev Gail

Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. — Isaiah 57:19

You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. —J. Donald Walters

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. — Dalai Lama

Happiness in relationships thrives when it involves people that already feel whole, secure and happy. These people do not depend on a relationship to give them anything. All of their relationships then reflect the wholeness of what they are. — Adam Oakley

Local RACIAL JUSTICE RESPONSES and in-depth RESOURCES

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Addressing events surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and resultant nationwide/global protests and demonstrations. Acknowledging the need for racial justice initiatives in our own hometowns as well as regionally and nationally.

Immediate Responses: RACIAL JUSTICE

  • Courageous Conversations: Racial Justice – 6-week dialogue series to be co-facilitated by Jackson Community Church and Jackson Public Library via Zoom on Wednesdays (June 17-July 22). Morning and afternoon sessions will be offered. RSVP to jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org if you’re interested in participating in the morning or afternoon sessions. We will share links as plans progress.
  • Additional programming is under consideration with the support of local advocates, the library, the church and other organizations. We will keep you posted.
  • Local organizers and educators:
    • NH Listens: Carsey School of Public Policy
    • World Fellowship Center also organizes and educates in the valley. More info.
    • Reading lists available through local librayr coop: In an effort to provide further materials, the coop libraries (Jackson, Cook, Madison and Conway) have shared lists for adults, teens and children within our joint KOHA catalog on books across our collections on race, racism and anti-racism.  There is also a list pertaining specifically to children’s books at the Jackson Library on these vital topics.  Numerous online resources are also available.   Dr. Nicole A. Cooke, the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair at the University of South Carolina, has created a list of Anti-Racism Resources for all ages and the National Museum of African American History & Culture has a page called Talking About Race.  While our statewide inter-library loan system remains on hold, if there are other books or informational resources you are looking for, we would like to hear from you so that we can best provide you with the materials you need. You can email us at staff@jacksonlibrary.org, send us a chat, or leave a voice message at 603-383-9731.

NH JUNETEENTH EVENTS: Facebook Page (all events collated at this site)

Become more informed about yourself:

Dive deep through other available resources. Some recommendations on different topics.

Starting-point to talk about race:


The NH Council of Churches has written letters and recommended next steps regarding racial justice responses to deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery,. See below.

The NH UCC offers this Theological Roundtable on Racial Justicehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iczYc42Y1Rw&feature=youtu.be. 

  • This video features reflections shared by The Rev. Gordon Rankin, Conference Minister, New Hampshire Conference, United Church of Christ (NHCUCC); and members of the NHCUCC Racial Justice Mission Group, Kira Morehouse, Member and Delegate, Brookside Congregational Church U.C.C., Manchester; Rev. John Gregory-Davis, Co-pastor, Meriden Congregational Church; Rev. Renee’ Rouse, Pastor, Northwood Congregational Church; Harriet Ward, Member, Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Brentwood-Kingston; and Rev. Dr. Dawn Berry, Member, First Congregational Church, UCC, Hopkinton, and Chair, Racial Justice Mission Group.

Recommended reading: Collected lists for different ages

  • NY Times: These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids
  • USA TodayBooks to Learn More About Anti-Racism
  • Embrace Race: 31 Books for Children about Race, Racism, and Resistance
  • Most lists will include these and many other books to get you started:
    • Fiction: The Hate U Giveby Angie Thomas
    • Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
    • How to Be an Antiracistby Ibram X. Kendi
    • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
    • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Learning about the social construct of ‘whiteness’ & race:

  • Scene On Radio presents Seeing White. A series on the history of whiteness as social construct in America.
  • People Talk about White Fragility with Dr. Robin DeAngelo (from White Fragility: Why Its Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
  • Watch PBS Frontline episodeA Class Divided about Jane Elliot’s 3rd-grade class in Iowa, and the exercise she used to teach them about prejudice, discrimination and implicit bias, by segregating blue-eyed and brown-eyed children.

History and experience of race in America:

Justice System, Policing, and Mass Incarceration:

Activism & Being an Ally:

Movies:

  • Netflix: 13th directed by Ava DuVernay offers documentary summarizing events and experiences since the 13th amendment was passed
  • Amazon Prime: I Am Not Your Negro features links between Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements through the work and words of James Baldwin, featuring the lives of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, and Medgar Evers
  • Disney: Zootopia by addresses racism and prejudice through animated animal narrative. Discussion guide to go with this film.
  • The Hate U Give on Hulu based on the book by Angie Thomas is about a black woman’s struggle to speak out when she witnesses the death of an unarmed friend killed by local police. Book discussion guide.

Churches and faith community resources:

Public policy bodies that are exploring and shaping equity initiatives and conversations in New Hampshire:

Other Organizations.
This list provided through a Jackson resident who is active on racial justice advocacy groups. “I invite you to join me in standing in solidarity with others who are organizing across the USA and the world for racial and social justice …”

  • NH UCC Racial Justice Mission Team: website. Sign up for their emails with recommendations on programming and engagement. The Purpose of the Racial Justice Mission Group is to awaken the NH Conference to issues of racial justice and equality within our churches, state, and country. We are called to be: LEARNERS in a community of mutual accountability studying the impact white privilege and the history of slavery has on racism; INTERRUPTERS of the continued cycle of racism; and  ALLIES with People of Color in challenging race-based injustice in the areas of criminal justice, environmental degradation, economic deprivation, and exclusion from full participation in our communities of faith.
  • White Mountain Action Network is organizing awareness and activism events. You can find them on Facebook or request to be added to their mailing list via white.mtn.action.network@gmail.com.
  • Black Lives Matter / North Conway Edition: See Facebook for organizer / contact info.
  • Poor People’s Campaign: Facebook | Website
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People / NAACP
  • Black Lives Matter: Seeks to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes by combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy.”
  • Girls for a Change: Supports Black girls and other girls of color and inspires them to visualize their bright futures and potential through discovery, development, and social change innovation in their communities.
  • Sistersong: Strengthens and amplifies the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.
  • The Essie Justice Group: Nonprofit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration.
  • Higher Heights: Building a national infrastructure to harness Black women’s political power and leadership potential.

HOLY WEEK with JCC: April 8-12 (Easter)

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:  jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org.

Wed, April 8

Thurs, April 9

  • 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: jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org)).

Fri, April 10

  • BREAKFAST with REV GAIL (via ZOOM)
    8am •  ZOOM LINK: zoom.us/j/170985789 (password required)
    Social gathering. Option: Call in via touch-tone phone: 929.436.2866, meeting ID: 170985789 (password required – contact jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org)
  • WAY of the CROSS
    Live-streaming via  Facebook.com/JacksonCommunityChurchJCC 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. 
  • LAST SEVEN WORDS Holy Friday Event (via ZOOM)
    5pm • ZOOM LINK: zoom.us/j/531729008) (password required)
    Reflect on the events of Holy Friday through the last seven words of Christ. Option: Call in via touch-tone phone: 929.436.2866, meeting ID: 531729008 (password required – contact: jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org)

EASTER SUNDAY, April 12

  • CHOIR PRACTICE (via ZOOM)
    9:15am • ZOOM LINK: zoom.us/j/142985761 (password required)
    Choir practice with choir director Billy Carleton and music director Alan Labrie. Option: Call on touch-tone phone: 929.436.2866, meeting ID# 142985761 (password required – contact: jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org)
  • 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: jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.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.

Reflections on injustice & healing: themes from Jeremiah

Balm in Gilead — Grace Schulman
“Is there no balm in Gilead?”
So cries dour Jeremiah in granite tones.
“There is a balm in Gilead,”
replies a Negro spiritual. The baritone  

who chants it, leaning forward on the platform,
looks up, not knowing his voice is a rainstorm
that rinses air to reveal earth’s surprises.
Today, the summer gone, four monarch butterflies,  

their breed’s survivors, sucked a flower’s last blooms,
opened their wings, orange-and-black stained glass,
and printed on the sky in zigzag lines,
watch bright things rise:

winter moons, the white undersides
of a … condor, once thought doomed,
now flapping wide like the first bird
from ashes.


Questions to consider, based on text from Jeremiah:

  • What are some of the injustices you notice in the world right now?
  • What voices resist or critique those injustices? Who are the prophets of this age?
  • What actions or words are helping reinforce the injustices you have noticed?
  • Do people from within your community, or groups with whom you identify, speak up or take action about the injustices you are noticing?
  • What are some signs of healing or hope that you see for those injustices … what “balm for Gilead” do you witness?
  • What is a daily action or choice you can make, to become more aware or to affect change, about an injustice that is of particular concern to you?

Injustices Named

Our nation is reeling from shockwaves of violence, intolerance, anger, suspicion, and fear. At this moment it feels like our whole country is a powder keg, about to ignite, fueled by long legacies of racism, xenophobia, heterosexism, religious intolerance. — Anathea Portier-Young

… we must understand the lament’s power. Too often as Christians, we edit our prayers to God. We speak frankly to friends, advisors, and paid professionals, but we don’t speak frankly to God. Jeremiah holds nothing back from God and models a prayer life of both praise and lament. … These verses continue to resonate with both Christians and Jews as they confront the troubles of today’s world. What would Jeremiah say if he heard that more soldiers died from their own hand than in combat last year in Afghanistan? What should we say? How would Jeremiah react if he heard that 22 veterans a day commit suicide? Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 still tries to shake us from our complacency. — Garrett Galvin

This fact does not mean that the prophet should cease telling the truth as she sees it from God. But all truth telling is contexted by a careful listening to the pain of those very people…. We modern day would-be prophets would do well to listen carefully to the cries of our people. We may demand from them God’s justice, but in a highly complex and competitive world, the doing of justice may not be so clear-cut. When the people of our flock feel the pressing demands of a capitalist world to work hard and to achieve success; when the women are urged to “have it all,” to achieve great success in business and equal success as spouse and mother, while the men are to “be men” and to be relational and giving, yet powerful and winners, the cries of the people may ring loud in the land. — John Holbert

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. — Desmond Tutu

Non-violence doesn’t mean we have to passively accept injustice. We have to fight for our rights. We have to oppose injustice, because not to do so would be a form of violence. Gandhi-ji fervently promoted non-violence, but that didn’t mean he was complacently accepting of the status quo; he resisted, but he did so without doing harm. — Dalai Lama

Hope & Healing

To be contented human beings we need trust and friendship, which tends to develop much better once we realise that all beings have a right to happiness, just as we do. Taking others’ interests into account not only helps them, it also helps us. Warm-heartedness and concern for others are a part of human nature and are at the core of positive human values — Dalai Lama

The painful truth is that we are not the people we envision ourselves to be—not always. We do not live up to the convictions we profess to be the basis for our lives—not always. We may be in tune to the “justice of the Lord” in some areas of our lives, but I guarantee that there are others where we are not, and we are clueless about that fact. Jeremiah calls us to ask not “Where is God?” but “What have I done?”—to pull back the veil of our appearance of godliness so that we can find the way to real healing. — Alan Brehm

We stuffed scary feelings down, and they made us insane. I think it is pretty universal, all this repression leading to violence and fundamentalism and self-loathing and addiction. All I know is that after 10 years of being sober, with huge support to express my pain and anger and shadow, the grief and tears didn’t wash me away. They gave me my life back! They cleansed me, baptized me, hydrated the earth at my feet. They brought me home, to me, to the truth of me. — Anne Lamott

At the same time Jeremiah reminds me that life is not about sitting around waiting for my medicine.  Band aids and half –measures will not bring the cure we need.  Jesus heals me for a reason.  I’m called to love in return with all my heart, soul and mind, to extend love to my neighbor in gratitude … I know of no other way, no other healing balm, that helps me meet the daily challenges. So I listen to the spiritual and will try to sing it every day this week: Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain; but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again. — Lillian Daniel

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