Peddling Hope – from Rev. Billy Kluttz

Grace and peace be with you!

This Sunday, we gather to hear the story of Vashti from Esther chapter one. Vashti is the queen dethroned for her disobedience to the king. Within a season of civil disobedience, I believe that Vashti is just the prophet that we need right now. If the story of Vashti (and the Book of Esther) is not fresh in your mind, you may enjoy remembering her story with this humorous parody and midrash by artist Felicia Sloin, click here.

Next week, we are also excited to announce the launch of our new Digital Church Hub which will provide you with quick links on our website homepage to access the information and resources you need during the pandemic. To visit the new Digital Church Hub after it goes live, go to http://www.nyapc.org. And, if you prefer the website as it was, there’s a button for that, too! This has been a summer-long project with our new communications team. Special thanks to Erica Morgan, Will Timmons, and Meg House for their hard work on this import effort.

This Sunday will also be my last Sunday with you. I want to say “thank you” for working alongside me this summer. I hope that I have encouraged you to continue your vital ministries as a church. I hope that I have helped equip you to be the church in the digital age. I hope that I challenged and comforted you and your soul through my words and/or silence.

You all have certainly been an inspiration to me this summer. Our work together has reminded me of my love for the church–and of the great power disciples of Jesus still have to affect change in the world. Your commitment to justice and creatively doing church during this pandemic are points of hope for me that I will carry with me into my next call in Baltimore.

My favorite quote comes from the Moroccan feminist Fatema Mernissi’s book, Scheherezade Goes West. The book itself is a study of the harem in western artistic portrayals—an apt subject for conversation this week because the harem plays a special role in the story of Esther. But the quotation comes from the book’s ending in which Mernissi imagines what she might have done with her life if she had been denied an education. She writes: “Yes, I would have peddled hope. Hope is my drug and official addiction. Pessimism is the luxury of the powerful. I can’t afford it.”

Keep peddling hope, New York Avenue! Your example and witness have already given me such great hope for the future of the church. Thank you for sharing that with me and with each other. I will be cheering you on from a little farther up I-95.

Peace,
Billy

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