Peace and Courage on This Good Friday

Dear Friends,

It’s been a holy week for the record books—with suffering, rejection, and violence all around us:

Watching an Asian American elder, 65-year-old Vilma Kari, shoved to the ground and beaten while on her way to church, as security guards do nothing to intervene

The trial of Officer Derek Chauvin who kneeled upon the neck of George Floyd, refusing to move even as Mr. Floyd repeatedly begged for breath and for his life.

The release of Lil Nas X’s explicit music video, narrating a journey from the Garden of Eden to the pits of Hell, a wrenching commentary on how the church has rejected him because he is gay.

Two shootings in the Woodland neighborhood of Southeast D.C., where Black residents continually tell us they are being starved out and priced out of their neighborhoods.

I believe these acts of violence, rejection, and exclusion cause God to weep. And that they should cause us to weep. We will get to Easter morning, the empty tomb, and all the joyful music and enthusiastic alleluias. But on this Good Friday, I invite you to reflect upon all the ways we continue to exclude, reject, and violate our siblings made in the image of God. For we cannot get to resurrection without bearing witness to suffering and crucifixion.

A poem, “Can You Drink the Cup?” by Brother Scott Surrency, O.F.M., that both stings and soothes:

Can you drink the cup?
Drink, not survey or analyze,
ponder or scrutinize –
from a distance.
But drink – imbibe, ingest,
take into you so that it becomes a piece of your inmost self.
And not with cautious sips
that barely moisten your lips,
but with audacious drafts
that spill down your chin and onto your chest.
(Forget decorum – reserve would give offense.)

Can you drink the cup?
The cup of rejection and opposition,
betrayal and regret.
Like vinegar and gall,
pungent and tart,
making you wince and recoil.
But not only that – for the cup is deceptively deep –
there are hopes and joys in there, too,
like thrilling champagne with bubbles
that tickle your nose on New Year’s Eve,
and fleeting moments of almost – almost – sheer ecstasy
that last as long as an eye-blink, or a champagne bubble,
but mysteriously satisfy and sustain.

Can you drink the cup?
Yes, you — with your insecurities,
visible and invisible.
You with the doubts that nibble around the edges
and the ones that devour in one great big gulp.
You with your impetuous starts and youth-like bursts of love and devotion.
You with your giving up too soon – or too late –

and being tyrannically hard on yourself.
You with your Yes, but’s and I’m sorry’s – again.
Yes, you – but with my grace.

Can you drink the cup?

Can I drink the cup?

Yes.

Peace and Courage on this Good Friday,

Heather

&&&&&&&&&&&&

Good Friday Service
April 2, 12:30 pm

Please join us for a reflective, quiet service of scripture and Taizé chanting.

Go to Zoom Meeting ID: 854 6792 8674


Easter Sunday Gathering and Worship Service
April 4

9:00 am – Intergenerational Gathering
We’ll gather on Zoom before worship to sing, hear an Easter story, and have a virtual scavenger hunt. People of all ages are welcome! If you are not on the family distribution list and would like to participate, email Pastor Rachel, rachel.pacheco@nyapc.org.

10:00 am – Worship Service
We’ll celebrate Easter with music and joyful Alleluias! We will also celebrate virtual communion, so bring your communion elements to your screen. In a pandemic, God blesses whatever communion elements you have on hand.

Go to Zoom Meeting ID: 150 620 342

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