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St. James' Glastonbury
Episcopal Church

Rev. Don Hamer Message May 17, 2023

Dear Siblings in Christ,

How is the Oneness of God reflected in your life?

This week’s Gospel passage from the Fourth Gospel contains the words of Jesus’ final prayer before his ascension into Glory. It is a prayer to his heavenly Father to protect his followers on earth after his ascension, saying, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

Jesus was not speaking narrowly here: He was including all of God’s people, of every tribe, nation, culture, race and class – because Jesus came to cut across all of those earthly, human distinctions. That truth is often lost or forgotten in our class-oriented society, even among Christian communities. Martin Luther King addressed this phenomenon in his famous “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” in which he addressed the concerns of a group of “moderate” white clergy who thought that Dr. King was moving too fast when it came to pushing for equal rights in the Jim Crow-era south.

In his eloquent, lengthy letter in which he took up the various arguments of the clergy, Dr. King echoed the sentiments of Jesus when he prayed that “they may be one as we are one” when he wrote:

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.

Jesus’ words and Dr. King’s words, written nearly two millennia apart, are as powerful – and as necessary – for us today as they were they were prayed and written.

How do you make those words a reality in your personal life? How do we give them life in furthering God’s mission in our own congregation? How can we breathe the breath of the Holy Spirit into them as we live, and move and have our being in the wider world?

Have a blessed week! Please try your best to be in church on Sunday when we honor our graduating high school senior, Sherman Sherman, who will also be our preacher on this Senior Sunday.

Your brother in Christ, Don+