Would Jesus Discriminate? and Metropolitan Community Churches Present Social Justice Workshop
October 5, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

“Faith Communities and LGBT Justice Campaigns: Creating and Sustaining Grassroots Justice Initiatives”

Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 2:00-4:00 pm
Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th and P Streets, Washington, DC

This interactive workshop will feature a diverse panel of faith leaders including Rev. Nancy Wilson, MCC Moderator, Rev. Dean Snyder, Sr. Pastor of Foundry UMC, Adam Gerhardstein of the Unitarian Universalist “Standing on the Side of Love” Campaign and Pastor Darren Phelps of the Bethel Christian Church, connected with The Fellowship.  Rev. Pat Bumgardner, MCCNY, will moderate the panel conversation. 
Churches will gather information on how to create and sustain social justice initiatives in their local communities, including developing social justice partnerships with allies in their communities.

2:00 - Gathering and Welcome
2:15 - Panel Sharing and Conversation
3:00 - Q & A
3:45 - Closing

Organizers for this workshop are Kareem Murphy, MCC DC and Rev. Joe Cobb, MCC of the Blue Ridge.  For more information, contact Rev. Cobb at namastejoe@gmail.com.

MCC Church Informal Gathering and Reception with Rev. Nancy Wilson
Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 4:00-5:00 pm
Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th and P Streets, Washington, DC
Join us for a time of conversation, connection and community as we celebrate our unique ministries and common hopes!

Would Jesus Discriminate?
MCC Churches who are involved in WJD? campaigns are encouraged to carry WJD? banners and signs in the October 11 National Equality Rally.

DFW, Texas Billboards Launched!
September 9, 2009, 3:15 pm
Filed under: Campaign Alerts, Local Campaign Updates

We are already getting feedback, positive and not-so-positive, about the newly posted billboards in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex in Texas!  Emails are coming in supporting this amazing message.  Bloggers are providing us comments for consideration in opposition to our message.

Take a look at this news release from PinkNews in the United Kingdom!  Click Here.

The Dallas billboards are making such news that we’ve gone national!  Please visit MSNBC to offer your positive voices to the many not-so-positive perspectives.  Click Here. And don’t forget to add your voice below!

Dallas Morning News story - click here !

CBS Channel 11 story - click hereWATCH here !

Participate in a Poll on KRLD.com - click here !

Updates on Lone Star Texas News - click here !

EDGE New York Covers the Billboards - click here !

UFMCC Releases the Billboard Launch to the Global Church - click here !

Help Pass Inclusive ENDA in the U.S. House
July 31, 2009, 8:49 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

from Metropolitan Community Churches

For Immediate Release: 30 July 2009

Help Pass Inclusive ENDA in the U.S. House, Voting in September
URGENT, Please make August appointments to visit Representatives and Senators TODAY

Breaking News: ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) will be in the U.S. House in September for an expected full committee hearing, committee mark up and vote. Now is crunch time for grassroots action — Congress’s August break is the LAST time for you tell your Representative and two Senators IN PERSON that ENDA is urgently needed and a top priority.

Metropolitan Community Churches’ Global Justice Team is joining United ENDA (UnitedENDA.org) to gain assistance from citizens across the United States regarding this important legislation. Regardless of the positions of your elected officals, please consider meeting with them in August.

Two years ago, we saw this bill enter the House of Representatives, but the legislation passed then did not include our transgender siblings. This is our opportunity to participate in making a change for inclusion!

It is your personal visit - the faces and voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and friends and family - that will make the difference for this legislation.

Thanks to the efforts of advocate organizations, we have access to tools to make this action easy for you. Helpful tips on meetings, public events and more are readily available in the National Center for Transgender Equality’s ENDA Toolkit and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund’s ENDA Toolkit.

Senators’ and Representatives’ calendars fill up fast. Please get an appointment now, for August. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need a little information - but mostly, all you need is to speak from the heart as their constituent about why ENDA is needed. Need more information about ENDA? Click here

Once you’ve visited, please feed the information back to uson this report form or the form in NCTE’s ENDA Toolkit.

Please, act now. We cannot let this moment pass us by.

In solidarity, and with great hope,

- MCC Global Justice Team
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair

For Additional Information, Contact:
Jim Birkitt, Communications Director
Metropolitan Community Churches
P.O. Box 691728
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Tel. (310) 625-4177
Email: info@MCCchurch.net

This statement has been released by the MCC Global Justice Team, in accordance with an alert released by UnitedENDA.org.

To Help Inspire You - A Success Story from Georgia

Months of organizing paid off in Atlanta when local volunteer ENDA organizers secured the support of a much needed Representative! This success came through the energy and dedication of a coalition of local organizations, including Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth (TILTT), local PFLAG chapters and Georgia Equality.

The leadership of Georgia Equality and their Executive Direct Jeff Graham were key. Jeff hosted several organizing meetings at Georgia Equality’s headquarters in Atlanta, invited local ENDA organizers to Georgia Equality advocacy trainings on other issues, facilitated a lobby training specifically on ENDA and supported grassroots lobbyists during the meeting with their legislator which led to this victory.

Jeff knows what it takes to get this job done and can imagine what a difference it might make. “We’re supporting the United ENDA work because employment protections are still rare here in Georgia,” he said. “When federal legislation does eventually pass, there will still be gaps in coverage that can only be addressed on a state and local level. Working on United ENDA allows us to build awareness and support for our own policy agenda.”

Facing Change: Gay Clergy, Same-Gender Blessings, and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act
July 28, 2009, 8:15 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

The writer James Baldwin, describing himself not as an “activist”, but as a “witness” in the world, once said that “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

As a witness in the world these days, I want to celebrate three bold changes being faced with courage, authenticity and risk.

In mid-July, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention adopted a resolution lifting the moratorium on ordaining gay clergy and bishops in committed relationships. Part of the statement reads that “The General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized members of the Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships ‘characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.’

It goes on to add, ‘God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.” (General Convention Daily Life)

I read of this resolution as I celebrated worship at a regional conference of the Metropolitan Community Churches in Pittsburgh, PA. As a church and movement founded forty years ago, MCC works tirelessly, with our sister denominations, to expand welcome and equality for all, and in particular, persons in the lgbt community.

As a gay clergy, I have witnessed the internal and external struggle of both individuals and communities of faith seeking to be fully and radically inclusive of all people living authentic lives. I left the United Methodist Church when I realized I couldn’t be an openly gay, ordained clergy. Many others face living their authentic calling in secret, or risk being excluded and marginalized because of who they are and who they are called to be.

Communities of faith struggle to weigh the teachings of sacred scripture, with the realities of divine grace and human development, and to find a place where all who seek spiritual community may be welcomed and embraced. For some, the reception of gay clergy has opened the door wide. For others, the door has been slammed shut in fear and isolation, often to protect narrow doctrine and dogma.

At the same General Convention, a resolution was adopted granting permission for clergy to perform same-gender blessings, “particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.” It also specifically “honor[s] the theological diversity of this church in regard to matters of human sexuality.” (General Convention Daily Life)

The honor of blessing any loving relationship is a gift. This act empowers clergy in the Episcopal Church to share in this honor.

While these resolutions will surely stir continued, and lively, debate among communities within and beyond the Episcopal Church, I celebrate the courage and risk taken to honor the authentic lives, relationships and callings of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

The third, bold act has been making its way through the halls of congress in Washington, DC. Most recently, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, was attached as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, awaiting final vote on the senate floor. Several amendments were attached to the act, some in hopes of derailing it altogether, and others adding types of punishment, including the death penalty, for offenders.

It is a sad irony, that in these United States, where we celebrate freedom, liberty and justice for ALL, we have to legislate protection for people who simply want to live authentic lives, without threat of violence, hatred and death. Because of the unique lives and challenges of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, this protection is necessary and critical.

I hope that the Senate will adopt the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act as a way to offer federal protection and resources to local communities and individuals facing acts of hatred because of who they are.

As a witness in this world, I will continue to wear the face of change, because it reflects love, authenticity and hope. May we each strive for the same.

Rev. Joe Cobb

MCC Affirms Lifting of Episcopal Moratorium on Ordination of Gay Clergy, Election of Gay Bishops
July 16, 2009, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

from Metropolitan Community Churches

For Immediate Release

Denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches
Affirms Lifting of Episcopal Moratorium on Ordination
of Gay Clergy, Election of Gay Bishops

The international movement of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) today affirmed its support of its sister denomination in Christ, the Episcopal Church in America, in lifting the de facto moratorium on the ordination of lesbian and gay clergy candidates and the election of openly lesbian and gay bishops.

Metropolitan Community Churches, the world’s largest and oldest Christian denomination with a primary, affirming ministry to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people, has enjoyed a long and mutual relationship with the Episcopal Church in America. In MCC’s founding years when MCC congregations were often turned away by other communities of faith, it was often local Episcopal churches that provided a place for MCC members to gather for worship and community.

Today, three MCC leaders — Rev. Nancy L. Wilson, moderator; Mr. Stan Kimer, chair of MCC’s Ecumenical & Inter-religious Team; and Rev. Pat Bumgardner, chair of MCC’s Global Justice Team, addressed Tuesday’s significant vote by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to open "any ordained ministry" to lesbians and gays.

Their statements and remarks follow:

Remarks by Rev. Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

"This is a courageous and timely vote from the Episcopal Church in America. It was clear that the moratorium on the ordination of gay clergy and the election of gay bishops made no one happy. This is an authentic move by this denomination at this time in history.

"Because of their global ties in the Anglican Communion, this will have a long term and global impact: While the Episcopal Church in America may well experience a short-term backlash from some quarters, this action will serve the Church’s long-term health as it becomes a fully welcoming place for all God’s children. The Episcopal Church has already paid a great price for standing up to religiously-based homophobia and sexism, and now has positioned itself to be a much needed global leader in the spiritual value of inclusion, in which Jesus and justice are inextricably connected.

"We rejoice, especially, with our brother The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, whose witness and faithfulness have moved the Episcopal Church to this point."

Remarks by Stan Kimer, Chair
Ecumenical & Inter-religious Team
Metropolitan Community Churches

"MCC clergy and lay people have worked with our Episcopal comrades in numerous ecumenical settings over the past 40 years. As ecumenical and faith partners, we have shared a mutual commitment to welcoming and affirming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians. I am very pleased by the action of the Episcopal Church in America to lift the de facto moratorium on the service of gay people and to now affirm full inclusivity of all God’s children in ‘any ordained ministry’ within the Episcopal Church in America."

Remarks by Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair
Global Justice Team
Metropolitan Community Churches

"Today, I am adding my voice to those who applaud the courage and integrity demonstrated in the Episcopal Church in America’s conference vote allowing the consideration of lesbian and gay candidates for the ordained ministry. This vote represents the lifting of what, in effect, was a moratorium on ordinations, especially to the episcopate. I especially want to recognize the many, including our brother, The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, who worked long and hard for this day.

"While grateful for this step forward, I remain mindful of all the places in the world where communities of faith, including the wider Anglican Communion, use their presence, power and prestige to support the continued stigmatization and marginalization of God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children. The denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is part of a coalition of progressive churches currently speaking against the violence suffered by LGBT people in Uganda — violence that some religious voices have condoned.

"I pray in thanksgiving, yes, for this step forward, and for the day when the quest for our full inclusion in the human community, along with the safety and protection such inclusion affords, will engender neither contention nor debate."

#   E N D   #


For Additional Information, Contact:
Jim Birkitt, Communications Director
Metropolitan Community Churches
P.O. Box 691728
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Tel. (310) 625-4177
Email: info@MCCchurch.net

This statement prepared by the MCC Moderator’s Office, in conjunction with the Ecumenical & Inter-religious Team of Metropolitan Community Churches, Stan Kimer, chair; the Global Justice Team of Metropolitan Community Churches, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, chair; and the MCC Communications Department, James Birkitt, communications director.

Speech at Equality Rally - Elmwood Park, Roanoke, VA - June 28, 2009
June 29, 2009, 9:11 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

Frank House, member of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge, organized an equality rally in Roanoke, Virginia on June 28 to commemorate the movement begun at Stonewall forty years ago and to mark how far we have come and have yet to go in the march for equality. He invited me, along with state Senator John Edwards, Brenda Hale of the NAACP, Len Rogers of the Stonewall Society, Leland Albright and Rev. Stephen Stanley of Christ Episcopal Church. Below is the speech I shared:

I am Joe Cobb, a clergy with the Metropolitan Community Churches, a movement founded 40 years ago in response to the discriminatory and exclusive practices of many churches, and a home for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, straight and questioning persons seeking a place to call home. In the Spirit of Love, we are called to:

◦ Do justice, show kindness, and live humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)
◦ Explore life’s questions with open hearts and minds.
◦ Raise our voices in sacred defiance against religious (and political or systemic) exclusion. 
◦ Reach out to those with no hope. 
◦ Lift up new generations of remarkable, far-reaching spiritual activists.

I currently serve as the Coordinator for MCC’s campaign “Would Jesus Discriminate?”, dedicated to the belief that

1. Jesus did not discriminate, but sought out those who lived on the margins.
2. The Christian call is to love God and love our neighbors.
3. Exclusion was NOT a tenet of Jesus’ teachings.

I am honored and humbled to be here, to celebrate our common call for equality, and to work together to make equality for all an abiding reality. Equality is a matter of justice.

Last evening I was strolling with my 20 month old daughter, Ginny, in downtown Roanoke. As we left the market area, we turned down the narrow lane called Kirk Ave. The street was quiet and peaceful.
As we crossed over First Street, we approached 124 Kirk Ave. I made my first visit to this building in August of 2001, having just left the ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church, and was going in to meet with the Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church. The storefront church was quiet that day, but my soul was searching. I decided to leave the midwest and move east to be closer to my children, who were nine and seven at the time. I was emerging from the closet of a church I felt called to serve and decided to leave, and wondering where I could live, be “out”, and begin to thrive.
I asked the pastor about Roanoke. Is this a safe place to live? I knew little about the violent shootings that had taken place a year earlier. I knew it was a crime of hate against anyone who was perceived as gay. I knew the city had responded in ways that didn’t support violence, yet were still struggling with how to fully welcome persons who were gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. I also knew I was still emerging from my own closet of fear.

That same month, following a bible study, this same pastor and two parishioners emerged from the church and were attacked by a group of men, hurling verbal assaults and fists, hitting the pastor in the face and knocking down one of the men and punching the other as he tried to help his partner. One of the witnesses to the assault said, “they were in a total rage. I’ve never seen such rage in my life.”
The 911 call from the pastor alerted the police and they arrived on the scene after the men had fled.

Fast forward to May 5, 2009. I was attending the Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call, a gathering of over 300 clergy from a variety of faith traditions representing all fifty states. Our primary focus was to meet with our representatives and senators in congress and urge their support of two fully-inclusive bills: the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Bill (aka Matthew Shepard Act) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Both of these bills include federal protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender and disabilities. The Matthew Shepard Act had just been passed by the House, and was awaiting introduction to the Senate. Both arms of congress were awaiting introduction of ENDA.
I met with staff for both Senator Jim Webb and Senator Mark Warner, who have expressed support for these bills. I also met with the Legislative Director for Representative Bob Goodlatte. Rep. Goodlatte voted against the hate crimes legislation. In asking his staff person the congressman’s rationale, he cited concern over a lack of evidence of hate crimes being prosecuted, concern about what appeared to be “special” punishment for these particular crimes, and whether or not the elderly should be included in the bill. Though I felt the rationale was questionable, I appreciated the dialogue.
This was my first experience in lobbying and I felt energized after my meetings. The initial fear that crept into my mind over meeting the senators and representative was quickly replaced by the courage and will to seek equality for my lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors.
In between meetings, I was standing with some clergy colleagues outside the House office buildings, and looked up to see Representative John Lewis, from Georgia, walk by. I stood in awe and respect for this one who had walked and marched with so many in the civil rights movement and who, in his memoir, “Walking with the Wind” stated with great conviction that equality is for all people, including our glbt sisters and brothers.

When I returned from DC, I made my way to a local cafe’, picked up a coffee, and made my way to a table to sit and write. Seated next to me was a friend I’d seen from time to time. He was the man attacked outside of 124 Kirk eight years ago while trying to help his partner up from the ground.
I told him I had been in DC lobbying for the Hate Crimes Bill and I asked him if his case was ever prosecuted. He told me that police were slow in arriving on the scene. And, that on a later date, a police officer came to his home and basically told him that there was little chance the case would be prosecuted.

Every day, many of us, and our neighbors, who seek to live authentically, with honesty, integrity and dignity, fear going to work because of an environment of harassment, both verbal and physical, and also fear sharing these incidents with supervisors because of the possible repercussions.

Many local law enforcement agencies will not prosecute because they choose to ignore that certain crimes are motivated by hate and because they have limited resources. Both of these bills provide fully-inclusive protection, on a federal level, for persons experiencing hate crimes and workplace discrimination. They would also provide federal protection for victims, and resources for local law enforcement to prosecute cases.

Both bills are now making their way through congress. It is critical that each of us take the time to write and call our Senators and Representatives and urge their support of these bills. Silence will not make a difference. Prophetic voices of equality will make a difference.

When hate and discrimination attack anyone, we are all attacked. When anyone of us experiences violence, we are all violated. When anyone of us dies as a result of hatred, we all begin to die inside.

On June 28, 1969, as I slept in my comfortable bed as a seven-year old child in Wichita, Kansas, sisters and brothers I would never know, stood up to hatred, discrimination and violence in place called Stonewall. I stand here today, as one of a long line of sacred queers, grateful for their courage, honesty, integrity and wisdom.

I stand here as one who believes we can all emerge from the fears that bind us into the hope that liberates us. I stand here as a father of two teenagers and a toddler who are being raised up in the way of Love that believes all are equal, all are beloved, all are welcome. I stand here as a partner of a dear man, whom I love with all my heart, mind, body and soul, and with whom, when we choose, seek the basic equal right to be legally married in Virginia. I stand here as a pastor, who believes that the One who created us as beloved, meant it. I also believe that religion in its true and best expression is not based on discrimination or exclusion, but on unconditional love and inclusion.

There is an ancient greeting, “namaste” which means the beloved in me greets the beloved in you. As we stand in each other’s presence, humbly honoring the beloved in each other, we are celebrating equality. May we carry this greeting into the depths of our lives and let it permeate every relationship, every workplace, every government and every faith community, so that one day, equality is no longer a dream, but a blessed reality. Thank you.

MCC Responds to California Supreme Court Ruling on Proposition 8
May 26, 2009, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

From Metropolitan Community Churches

Denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches Responds To Mixed Decision By California Supreme Court Ruling Upholds 18,000 Same-Sex Marriages in California

The denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches expresses its deep disappointment at today’s decision by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 and prohibiting same-sex marriages in the state.

Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches said, “While we celebrate with the 18,000 same-sex couples whose marriages will stand, we are deeply saddened by the court’s decision to allow legalized discrimination against same-gender families. We will continue to work and pray for the day when all citizens are assured the blessings of equality and justice.”

Leaders and members of Metropolitan Community Church have been involved in the struggle for Marriage Equality for four decades, among them MCC Founder Rev. Troy Perry, who performed the first public same-sex wedding in the United States in 1969, and Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, senior pastor of MCC Los Angeles and president of California Faith for Equality.

Rev. Pat Bumgardner, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York City said, “The decision of the California Supreme Court today essentially mandates segregation within the LGBT community, and that is not only legally unacceptable, it is immoral. What I want both those who support marriage equality and those who oppose it to know is that we as a people will not give up until full equality is achieved, and that it will be achieved. This battle is not over and won’t be over until we are celebrating full equality across these United States.”

MCC encourages non-violent responses to today’s decision. Public events are planned across the United States at which members of the community can respond to the court’s ruling. For more information about these events, please visit www.dayofdecision.com.

Metropolitan Community Churches continues to stand for Marriage Equality and for full equality and justice for all people both in the United States and around the world. For additional information about MCC, visit www.MCCchurch.org.

For Further Information, Contact:
Rev. Jim Merritt
Marriage Equality Coordinator for MCC’s Global Justice Team
Metropolitan Community Churches
E-mail: revjim@thecommunityactivist.com
Web: www.MCCchurch.org

2009 Clergy Call - Reflections
May 15, 2009, 11:04 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

On Tuesday, May 5, I found myself sitting in the office of my congressman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte on Capitol Hill. Along with my colleague, Rev. Kharma Amos, we had a good 30 minute conversation with the congressman’s legislative director.

We were in DC as part of the Human Rights Campaign Clergy Call, and the lobbying visits culminated an amazing experience of gathering with over 300 clergy from a variety of faith traditions and all 50 states.

Our focus for lobbying day included talking with our senators and representatives about passing two pieces of legislation: The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Bill (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In our conversation with Rep. Goodlatte’s legislative director, we talked about his decision to vote against the Hate Crimes Bill. The primary points of concern were a lack of evidence of hate crimes being prosecuted, concern about what appeared to be “special” punishment for these particular crimes, and whether or not the elderly should be included.

I recalled an experience of two friends who were brutally attacked and beaten in Roanoke several years ago. The police took their time in arriving, and when they talked with the victims, said that there was little chance the crime would be prosecuted. Both men are still healing, but they had no recourse for prosecution. All they have is their story, which, along with the many stories of hate crimes unprosecuted, need to be told.

We also live in a time when many people are afraid to go to work due to an environment of harrassment, both verbal and physical, and further, are afraid to share incidents with supervisors because they will be “pointed” out.

Both of these bills provide fully-inclusive protection, on a federal level, for persons experiencing hate crimes and workplace discrimination. They would also provide federal protection for victims, and resources for local law enforcement to prosecute cases.

What are your experiences? And what are the intersections with Would Jesus Discriminate? I invite you to share them here, to express our unique and common challenges and victories.

Also, call and write your representatives in Washington, DC. Let them know how you feel. Every staff person we talked to said that the more they hear from constituents on issues, the better.

Rev. Joe Cobb

Easter Sunday - I Have Seen the Lord
April 12, 2009, 7:46 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” - John 20:18

My daughter and I were talking about what makes Easter special for us. She said, “my two favorite things about Easter are “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and “The Hallelujah Chorus”. These songs, written by Charles Wesley and George Fredrick Handel, celebrate the joy of this day and the profound joy Mary felt when she proudly told the others, “I have seen the Lord”.

May the words of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” by Charles Wesley lift us as we celebrate the resurrection!

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of all and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

God of Joy,
We celebrate the resurrection
of Jesus. On this day, may we
“see” the Lord in new ways.

Rev. Joe Cobb

Holy Week Prayer Labyrinth - Stillness
April 11, 2009, 9:26 am
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

“They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid….they laid Jesus there.” - John 19:40-42

Today there is stillness. The cross is empty. Sanctuaries are darkened. There is silence as we wait, and wonder. The tomb holds his body, carefully wrapped and held in darkness.

As we sit in the stillness of the labyrinth, meditating on Jesus’ death, we contemplate our own times of loneliness and solitude. This is a spiritual movement, to see our times of loneliness transformed into solitude. It is much like knowing that a seed has been planted, waiting to see the first sign of growth.

One of the Rules of Taize’ says: “whether you be sleeping or waking, by night and by day, the seed sprouts and grows, though you know not.”

So, we wait in stillness. And, we wait in hope.

On this Holy Saturday, we lift these congregations and their communities in prayer. We pray for their ministries and their efforts through Would Jesus Discriminate? to reveal God’s inclusive, all-embracing love:

Trinity MCC - Arlington, Texas;
MCC of Greater Dallas - Dallas, Texas; Rev. Colleen Darraugh
Promise MCC - Dallas, Texas; Rev. Jon Haack
Harvest MCC - Denton, Texas
Agape MCC - Ft. Worth, Texas; Rev. David Wynn
Resurrection MCC - Houston, Texas; Rev. Dwayne Johnson; Mark Eggleston
MCC San Antonio - San Antonio, Texas; Rev. Mick Hinson

God of Stillness,
Wait with us in our
loneliness; stir in us
the growth you already
know and we open
ourselves to receive.