In Service - Living Into Our Baptismal Promises

Volume 2: Issue 9
December 2016
Living Into Our Baptismal Promises
Editor’s note: As we journey deeper into the Advent season we are offered a glimpse of God’s ultimate vision for creation and humanity. Advent invites the church to dream of what God’s will being done fully "on earth as it is in heaven" might mean in light of Jesus’ words and acts. How might faith communities dig deep and discover how to engage in conversation with one another around the many issues that divide our nation, such as immigration, water rights, racism, health care, or gun violence? Where is God calling us to "proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ," to "seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself," and to "strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being"? This issue of "In Service" offers some resources for you and your congregation.

What Must We Do to Inherit God’s Dream of Community?

Luther E. Smith, Jr.

Howard Thurman provides us keen insights for taking personal responsibility and opportunities to combat racism. His analysis of hate beginning in situations of no contact and not sympathetic understanding focuses on the crisis of alienation. After becoming aware of who are our neighbors, we are faced with the question: How do we bridge the gap of alienation with our neighbors? One of the oldest meanings of the word "reconciliation" is "a place of "meeting." This stresses that overcoming alienation requires coming together. If we are to deepen understanding so that processes of reconciliation might begin, we must establish and come together in public and private places. This emphasis on being present and interactive with one another reminds us that we cannot approach the overcoming alienation only by reading books or viewing documentaries about race and racism. When people have not had relationships with a person from another racial group, their understanding is impersonal. Knowledge about another is then formed through positive and negative impressions based on reports. The knowledge may be laudatory of another race; still it fails to capture a deeper knowing that comes from sustained interpersonal communication—a knowing that is fundamental to personal and systematic transformation.
Read more of Luther’s essay here.

Download Questions for Individual or Group Reflection here.

Adapted from Living into God's Dream: Dismantling Racism in America
9780819233219   List price: $18.00

Further Reading
FromHolidaystoHolyDays_150 Faithful Neighbors
Christian-Muslim Vision & Practice
Based on the strong, on-going work of the Center for Anglican Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, Faithful Neighbors outlines an introduction to the rationale for interfaith work through both theological and practical viewpoints, using stories from real experiences of interfaith cooperation to offer encouragement, inspiration, and practical steps to do the same.

Learn more
9780819232557   List Price: $18.00
LoveLifeLiveAdvent_150 Water of Baptism, Water for Life
An Activity Book

An illustrated activity book for 8-11 year-olds and families to explore and celebrate the gift of water in baptism and in life. It may inspire and inform a week of VBS or a mission project in addition to supplementing baptismal preparation or a program.

Learn More
9780819227829   List Price: $12.00
Reclaiming Gospel_150 Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace
Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence

"This book examines this heartbreaking, politically charged issue of gun violence from many angles, considering numerous ways in which we as individuals
and as a church can help to stem the tide of violence. It offers no simple solutions, but makes it clear that each of us has a role to play in reclaiming the gospel of peace."
—The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies

Learn more
9780819232021   List Price: $20.00
View more resources on this topic here.  

Timely Downloads from Church Publishing
Teaching Tolerance Amidst Anger
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Next Month's Issue: Leadership

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