Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Dear Saint James Community,                                         

We are deeply saddened by recent events around our nation. We grieve with you for every person who has experienced racial injustice. St. James Episcopal Day School is not only built on academic excellence but also spiritual formation within a warm, loving, Christian community. We are called to be people of hope. This means our community is not a place for racism and hatred. We have an obligation to focus on listening to one another, showing empathy, celebrating differences, and loving unconditionally, just as Christ would do. What a beautiful gift we can give the world: teaching a generation of children to lead positive change that is long overdue!

While no small task, we are up for the challenge. Our faculty, staff, administration, and clergy are committed to supporting you and your children during these challenging times. Please be on the lookout for communication from our school counselor Ally Bayard in this Sunday’s Scoop that will include links to resources that can help you to help your children better understand what is happening in our world. 

We want to listen to the voices of those calling out to us, and to take positive steps together with you this year and in years to come. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”

Bridget Henderson & The Rev. Dr. Michael Kuhn

Message from Fr. Chris Duncan sent to St. James Church

Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Each of us is invited by Christ into the work of redemption and transformation. As the hands and feet of the body of Christ, as the Church, and as Episcopalians we are called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves as we strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.

There are no words to fully express the pain, sorrow, and anxiety we feel as individuals and as a society, yet our words are important and listening to the words of others as we attempt to give voice to pain matters. Since the events of the killing of George Floyd our society has joined voices crying out “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.” As the Church we are not called to ignore the pain, sorrow, and anxiety that so many in our society and around the world live with generation after generation and day after day. It is my hope that the Church will see this time as an opportunity to share the love of Christ through gracious listening, acts of mercy, and reconciliation.

When we consider the vastness of God and God’s creation and God’s gracious self-revelation to creation, we are welcomed into God’s infinite mercy and love. It is easy to feel overwhelmed as we seek to contemplate what is awe-inspiringly incomprehensible, unfathomable, and mysterious. At times like this, it can become hard to fix our eyes on the image of the all-powerful loving God. Yet, two theological truths remain: Imago Dei and Incarnation.

Imago Dei is the message expressed in Genesis 1 during creation in which humans are created in the image of the triune God. Thus, all people bear God’s holy impression in and on our very being. Therefore, all people must be treated as creatures in the image and likeness of God. Incarnation is the term used to express God becoming flesh in Jesus and in doing so blessing creation through that presence. It is through the Incarnation that we are transformed by the Passion and Resurrection. It is through the Incarnation that we are invited to participate in Christ’s ministry as the hands and feet of God within the world.

I share this theological teaching because these two transformative truths of Imago Dei and Incarnation supersede the divisions we create due to race, religion, gender, sexuality, nationality, age, size, class, education, etc. This leads to two questions upon which we can reflect:

  1. What are the ways in which we actively or passively ignore or disrespect the Imago Dei in other people?
  2. In light of God’s Incarnation through Christ, how can we serve as the hands and feet of Christ to create a more just world?

These are simple questions that are not easy to answer. Christ himself taught us that following the way of God’s love is not easy. It is uncomfortable. It is hard. It leads to change. Christ invites us to die to self in order to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. That is our calling. In fact, it was the very God that created us in his image and came into the creation in the flesh who gave up everything for us on the cross and opened the way of life and love through the Resurrection. This is why the last part of our Baptismal Covenant asks two questions:

  1. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
  2. Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

And we answer committing ourselves to this work, saying, “I will, with God’s help.”

The road to healing and reconciliation is not easy. The love we are to have is meant to be active love in order to build up the kingdom of God so that lives are transformed more fully into the image in which we were created. As we walk this hard path, we are reminded that the God of love is with us and in us, even in our tears, our fears, and our brokenness.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.