Where Do We Go From Here?
By The Rev. Canon Michael Gilton | June 9, 2020
“And the Lord answered me: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets so he may run who reads it … But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him,” (Habakkuk 2:2,2:20)
Last week, as a consequence of the chaos in our country due to the heinous and unjust death of Mr. George Floyd, I called us to pray, to set our hope on Christ, and to seek out your clergy if you wish to lament with them at your side. I am writing again to follow up on our call to prayer and to address what we can all do next, knowing we are all setting our hope on Christ.
What have you heard from the Lord in your prayers? The Prophet Habakkuk, quoted above, stood on the walls of Jerusalem, waiting for and expecting that the Lord would reply; and God did. God answers our prayers; what has he said to you? I encourage you to share those answers with your brothers and sisters in Christ: talk about them; support one another; ask others to help you understand what the Lord is saying to you.
And keep praying! Prayer is not part of the battle, prayer is where the battle against evil and injustice takes place. Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, says this, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 6:12).
And, What’s Next?
Several folks have asked me, “What else can I do?”
The people of St. Philip’s were well represented at the recent Peaceful March in Frisco and the ecumenical gathering to pray for justice and against racism in McKinney. Such representation is a living out of our mission to “…impact the world for Christ.” I encourage you to seek out similar peaceful protests and prayer gatherings, and I commit that we will communicate other gatherings and meetings of which we become aware.
One parishioner experienced a call from the Holy Spirit to form a small group, focused on specific actions to end racism (call me if you want more details). I think this is an excellent model for us all: gathering together to ask the Lord to show us how we advocate for justice in his name.
This week, in the heat, some 80 parishioners packed and are distributing lunches for Frisco children who otherwise would not have had a noonday meal. What a biblical and incarnational way to fight against the principalities and powers of this world and glorify the Lord! I encourage you to reach out to our Missions and Outreach Director, Mary Hendrix to discuss other such opportunities.
Others also asked, “What will our church do?”
- Your leadership and staff will continue to pray, seeking the Lord’s will, of that you may be assured.
- Since worship is such an important part of our common life, I trust you noticed that we added to and changed the Prayers of the People. We will continue to pray for justice and peace and an end to racism and violence as an act of worship.
- On June 24, we will have a facilitated discussion called Truth. Love. Together. A place for folks to express their experiences of the last few weeks. This will be a time of honest speaking and respectful listening, and I hope you will participate. +Find out more and register here.
Your clergy, leaders, and staff are committed to being long term and substantial agents of change in the name of Jesus. Consequently, we are thoughtfully considering how the events of the last few weeks will change our ministry in the months and years to come. What might that look like? One example: Partnering with a predominately African-American church to do ministry together, swap pulpits, and share fellowship. Another example: working with other ministry partners in ways that intentionally enable us to forge relationships that we would not otherwise have sought out.
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the seas!” (Habakkuk 2:14).
Two Final Personal Words
First, I know members of our church continue to cry out for justice, an end to racism, support for the dignity of all people, and an end to violence and rioting. I apologize for not reaching out to those most directly affected or most likely to be viscerally concerned. Being new to St. Philip’s, I do not know as many of our people as I would like. So, please, let me know if you’d like to talk, I am ready to listen.
Finally, again I say: set your hope on Christ! By the cross, empty tomb, and ascending of Jesus Christ, we know justice prevails, love wins, and grace abounds.