Hi Resurrection Family!
I’m excited about this weekend’s worship and the sermon I’ll be sharing with you. We’re spending the next month in a back-to-basics series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and this week my focus is on The Seemingly Impossible Ethics of Jesus.
We’ll focus on Matthew 5:17-48 where Jesus takes several of the Ten Commandments and reinterprets them. “You’ve heard it was said of old, Do not murder, but I say to you, do not get angry and if you call someone a fool you’ll be in danger of the fires of hell.” Yikes! Which of us hasn’t gotten angry and called someone a fool, or worse? By the way, I’ll share with you the grace 1,000 elementary school kids gave their parents on a parenting report card when it came to anger.
In this section Jesus went on to say it wasn’t just adultery that was wrong, but looking with lust after another, and telling his disciples to pluck out their eyes or cut off their hands if they cause them to sin in this area. If we did this, how many guys would be missing an eye or a hand? We’re going to consider Jesus’ teachings, how we read them, and how they speak to us today.
Don’t miss this weekend in worship and invite a friend to join you at cor.org/live Saturday at 5 pm, Sunday at 7:30 am, 9:15 am, 11 am or 5 pm (CT) or on KSHB Channel 41 for worship at 11 am.
Don’t forget to go to cor.org/next to register your attendance, give online, submit a prayer request or see our weekly announcements.
I’ll be on vacation this coming week so I’ll not be hosting Tuesday Night Vespers. I’ve enjoyed doing these, and if you missed a week, they are all posted here.
Last week I spoke about the power of a song with a 17-minute devotion on singing in the Bible. If you missed it, you can view it here.
Thank you to those of you who completed the survey last week and provided input on when you would be comfortable returning to in-person worship. Just over 20% of all who took the survey indicated you were ready to return to worship in July. Close to 40% would be ready in August. We’ve also reviewed the health data from Johnson and Jackson counties.
Here’s our best thinking at this point: We’ve already started reopening the building for support groups to gather. We’re exploring other kinds of things we can do in July to begin gathering people in groups. Then in August, as schools reopen, we restart in-person worship as well.
We’re anxious to get back together physically, but the situation is fluid, and the health and safety of our congregation and community is our priority. So that’s our recommendation as of now. We also recognize that the survey shows most members anticipate continuing to worship online going into the fall, and we’ll continue to share the best online worship experience possible.
This week we held a special blood drive, by reservation only, and this drive became one of the largest in our history with 748 units of blood collected. Thank you to all who came to give blood this week!
We received a note from the Community Blood Center with great thanks for replenishing the supply of blood for the Kansas City area – they had been down to a two-day supply.
Yesterday a group of volunteers sewed 2,000 cloth masks for children in our partner schools in KCMO and KCKS in preparation for the new school year.
This week volunteers have been preparing Vacation Bible Camp Kits for over 1,000 children who will be participating from their homes and neighborhoods. Our kids staff will be leading online lessons and activities and the kits include all you’ll need to have VBC at home.
If you haven’t registered your children or grandchildren yet, you still have time, but do it today! The deadline is July 1. Here’s the link.
I want to remind you that our pastors and staff are here to care for you and offer support for all aspects of life. If you are ill, going through a difficult time, or need prayer and pastoral care for any reason, please contact the church.
We know the uncertainty of the times can be especially challenging to people dealing with the disease of addiction. If you or someone you know have been affected by substance, drug or alcohol abuse or addictions of any kind, Resurrection Recovery Support Groups welcome you to meet on Thursday evenings at 7 pm, either in person at the Leawood Campus in Building B or online via Zoom.
Following George Floyd’s death, we spent three weeks focused on race and racism in America, and how God might call us to respond. One author has called racism “American’s original sin.” From the time we began the church, addressing racism has been a part of our vision. It is part of our 2030 vision approved by the church last year.
But how we speak about race and racism is challenging. A pastor friend said to me, “I’m always worried I’m going to say the wrong thing – that one part of my congregation will feel I didn’t say enough, or I said it wrong, and another part will think I said too much, or disagree with whether there is even a problem.” I think many pastors feel that.
In the three-week sermon series’ focus on racism, I heard from many who were grateful for the sermons, and others who took issue with one part or another. I didn’t hear from anyone who said, “We don’t have a problem with race,” or who didn’t agree racism was wrong. But some took issue with a word, phrase or idea here or there. Some felt I’d not said enough. Some felt I’d said too much.
I’ve yet to preach a perfect sermon in thirty years as your pastor. These two sermons (Rev. Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III preached the third in the series) were no exception – not perfect, but my feeble attempt to hear what God would say to us about this critical issue of racism that was at the center of our national conversation the last month. (Here are links to the sermons: A Dream Still Deferred and Jesus, Protests and Repentance.)
That leads me to the statement the Church Council approved last week regarding our vision for racial justice. The writing team, half people of color in our congregation, half Caucasian, including laity, staff and clergy, drafted the statement. They were challenged to, and wanted to, boldly lead, and for Resurrection to boldly and clearly state that we were opposed to racism, that we recognize that we continue to have a problem in our country and that we as Christians are often blind to it, and that we want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. While we’ve sought to address racism over the last thirty years as a church, there was more we could and should have done.
While Kansas City area corporations were speaking out about race, we felt it important that the church not remain silent. I am proud of the team’s work. Here’s the link to the statement.
Most of the responses we received were positive – people were proud of the statement and grateful for it. But there were some who felt uncomfortable or disagreed with this or that word or phrase.
One man wrote, “I agreed with 95% of the statement,” but there were phrases or words that he was not comfortable with and felt like there needed to be time to unpack these and to discuss. I appreciated his note and I know that words and phrases mean different things to different people and some require unpacking and discussing. We’ll be talking about some of these things in the Wednesday Night Beloved Community class in a couple of weeks – I’m joining Pastor Tino for the last session. But I also love the idea of a conversation we might plan around this for those who are not in that class.
A lot more could be said, but I’m running out the door to record this weekend’s sermon on Jesus’ teaching about anger, and lust, turning the other cheek and loving your enemy!
I’m grateful for you, Resurrection, and proud to be your pastor!
See you in worship (online!) this weekend!
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Leawood, KS 66224
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Olathe, KS 66061
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Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
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Overland Park, KS 66212
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