QUOTE OF THE DAY

In her sermon on Sunday, Pastor Jenny reminds us that we are broken from creation. “If we stop struggling against nature, we will find wisdom and healing and loving and harmony,” she says. “Only then will we be able to reconnect those broken pieces.” “God is always providing a way for us, she adds, “therefore we must  give him and the earth thanks because the things that we touch and eat are from the earth.”  At Princeton United Methodist Church, we can learn to overcome our brokenness by being part of this beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon.

 

 

Daily Devotional | Monday, February 8

Monday, February 8

The author of 1 John 2:9-10 writes: “Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling.”


Writing in the epilogue to her powerful 2018 history of post-Vietnam white power movement in America, Bring the War Home: the White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, historian Dr. Kathleen Belew writes: “Understanding white power as a social movement is a project both of historical relevance and of vital public importance. Knowledge of the history of white power activism is integral to preventing future acts of violence and to providing vital context to current political developments. Indeed, to perceive the movement as a legitimate social force, and its ideologies as comprising a coherent worldview of white supremacy and imminent apocalypse—one with continued recruiting power—is to understand that colorblindness, multicultural consensus, and a postracial society were never achieved.”

Last month the flag of the Confederacy was carried through the halls of Congress. Church leaders must struggle with Belew’s words and the scripture above in light of Belew’s conclusion, “that colorblindness, multicultural consensus, and a postracial society were never achieved” not in the world and not in the church.


Source:     Wonder Media Network @ Twitter.com

Action step: today, with brutal honesty fearlessly ask whether you can face your creator and answer the question “do you live in the light?” How is it with your church? How is it with your community? Post-pandemic, returning into the architecture of your church, what changes are demanded by the question “do you live in the light.” A postracial society must first be an antiracist society, a postracial church must first be an antiracist church.


Prayer:

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.” ~ Matthew 5:14

We have seen ourselves as that light on a hill, O God of the ages;

we have believed ourselves to be the shining example of all that is good in the world.

But lately our light has been dim, and our good has been muddied by a hidden hate we try to deny.

 

We can’t help but wonder how the world sees us now,

We who have held a banner for rights and for equality,

We who have pointed fingers at those who abuse others,

We who have condemned acts of injustice in other lands,

How shines our light now?

Yet, despite our failings, our brokenness and our sin,

you still call us,

each of us and all of us,

to be the light of the world.

Even when we are ready to give up on us, even when our sin is too great to bear,

you still call us,

each of us and all of us,

to be the light of the world.

 

There is too little light around us and within us right now, God of mercy,

how can you still call us?

How can you still hope in us?

We long to be that light, Loving God. We long to be that hope.

Help us, now especially; help us bring light to a world roiling in the gloom.

Help us claim the hope that we can be light,

as a nation, as a church, as followers of the true Light of the World.

Help us find the way into the light. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, July 2020, this prayer was shared on July 22, 2020  by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism E-mail

Daily Devotional | Sunday, February 7

Sunday, February 7

John 8:31b – “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”


Image Source: James Cone, Black Theology and Black 
Power, By Birchett, Colleen; Philadelphia Tribune

In 1969, a year after merger, James Cone, writing in Black Theology & Black Power, laid down an ominous challenge writing: “To carve out a Black Theology based on black oppression will of necessity mean the creation of new values independent of and alien to the values of white society. The values must be independent because they must arise from the needs of black people. They will be alien because white American “Christian” values are based on racism.”
We United Methodists have both succeeded and failed in creating “new values independent of an alien to the values of white society” and in recognizing that American Christianity is truly based “on racism”. Answering God’s call the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference has resolved to dismantle institutional racism within our churches and our polity but are we up to the task?


Action step: today, with brutal honesty answer these two simple questions. “Am I willing to take risks in order to lead my church in adopting and a racist policy.” “Am I willing to search my heart and soul for my own racism?” Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to lead you through a time of soul-searching and to reveal those in your congregation ready to journey with you.


Prayer: A Prayer on Privilege

Merciful God, I claim Your promise to be with us when two or three are gathered. You know that each of us has a unique heart and history and so I can only speak from what I have seen and known and become as one who enjoys the privilege of being born white in the United States.

As I try to understand the ways in which I benefit from that history, or deprive others of life and happiness and all the things I take for granted, I pray that You will open my heart, my mind, my imagination, and my eyes to see this country as it is and not as I want it to be or think that it is.

Even as I utter words with the best of intentions about “the poor,” “those who are dispossessed,” “those who are disrespected,” “those who are subtly or overtly treated as less than,” those who fall in that thoughtless, painful category of “you people”, I feel that I am distancing myself from these “others,” and contributing further to the fissures that divide all of us from each other and You.

Help me, O God, to acknowledge honestly the ways in which white privilege in America is perpetuated, the ways in which racism thrives systemically, and the ways in which our “Common Prayer” furthers these divides.

Dear God, I trust your Spirit to guide us in our common life and enlighten us to the injustices of white privilege in this country. Make our common prayers occasions for your Spirit to break into our hearts and lives, that we may ” nally see our world with a glimpse of your love and light.

I pray that we may all be healed of our hurts and divisions, so that we may become agents of the reconciliation and peace that you desire for this world. This is my prayer. Amen.

Rainey G. Dankel, printed in the The Anti-Racism Prayer Book compiled by The Anti-Racism Team of Trinity Church Boston in 2014

Daily Devotional | Saturday, February 6

Saturday, February 6

In Mark 14:7 Jesus says, “For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.”


In Jesus rebuke of Judas’ patriarchal denigration of the woman anointing Jesus’ head with nard is a chilling indictment of humanity’s toleration of poverty, which we could eradicate the way we did smallpox. As demonstration again in John 9, humans seem primed to see the misfortune of others as earned; “[a]s he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Privilege is born in the misguided belief that “what I have, I earned”. We accept this ignoring the evidence to the contrary that surrounds us. Poverty is criminalized as “we” protect “us” from “them” ignoring our participation in the sin of systemic poverty. We easily accept that “they” are poor because “they” have not done all that “we” have to escape poverty.
In Chapter 12 of How to be an Antiracist, which examines class, Ibram X. Kendi, raises questions that resonate with both the disciples’ question “who sinned?” and Jesus’ “you can show kindness to them whenever you wish”.
“When a policy exploits poor people, it is an elitist policy. When a policy exploits Black people, it is a racist policy. When a policy exploits Black poor people, the policy exploits at the intersection of elitist and racist policies – a policy intersection of class racism. When we racialize classes, support racist policies against those race-classes, and justify them by racist ideas, we are engaging in class racism. To be antiracist is to equalize the race-classes. To be antiracist is to root the economic disparities between the equal race-classes in policies, not people…Pathological people made the pathological ghetto, segregationists say. The pathological ghetto made pathological people, assimilationists say. To be antiracist is to say the political and economic conditions, not the people, in poor Black neighborhoods are pathological.” Jesus’ “you can show kindness to them whenever you wish” sets up an if/then proposition convicting us of the cruelty and evil present in our active and passive participation in criminalizing poverty. In this case the then in the if/then is implied; if we can show kindness to them whenever we wish, then why don’t we?


“Homeless Jesus” Photo Credit: Sculpture Timothy P. Schmalz/Methodist Central Hall

Action step: today, with brutal honesty, identify three prejudiced beliefs you hold about “those poor people”. Identifying ways in which these were formed by art, politics, the press, the church, or your family of origin. Then look for contrary evidence in those same places – art, politics, the press, the church, and your family of origin – where this privileged view of poverty is not supported.


Prayer: Litany for Social Justice

We pray for the strength of heart and mind to look beyond ourselves and address the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world; for the rural and urban poor; for the rebuilding of our communities; and for an end to the cycles of violence that threaten our future.

God of generosity and compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for all nations, that they may live in unity, peace, and concord; and that all people may know justice and enjoy the perfect freedom that only God can give.

God of liberty and freedom, hear our prayer.

We pray that the Holy Spirit may embrace the most vulnerable members of our society; we pray also for an end to the growing disparity between the rich and poor; and for the grace and courage to strive for economic justice.

God of all gifts and blessings, hear our prayer.

We pray for an end to prejudice throughout our country and the world; that we will respect all people as precious children of God; and that racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination will be forever banished from our hearts, our society, and our laws.

God of fellowship and equality, hear our prayer.

We pray for all immigrants, refugees, and pilgrims from around the world, that they may be welcomed in our midst and be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.

God of outcasts and wanderers, hear our prayer.

We pray for all prisoners and captives; that a spirit of forgiveness may replace vengeance and retribution; and that we, with all the destitute, lonely, and oppressed, may be restored to the fullness of God’s grace.

God of absolution and mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children and families, and particularly for the orphaned, neglected, abused, and those who live in fear of violence or disease; that they may be relieved and protected.

God of children and families, hear our prayer.

We pray for the reconciliation of all people, and for the Church throughout the world, that it may be an instrument of your healing love.

God of outreach and restoration, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died as a result of violence, war, disease or famine, especially those who died because of human blindness, neglect, or hardness of heart.

God of eternal life and resurrecting love, hear our prayer.

Almighty God, you have promised to hear what we ask in the name of your Son. Watch over our country now and guide our leaders in all knowledge and truth and make your ways known among all people. In the passion of debate give them a quiet spirit; in the complexities of the issues give them courageous hearts. Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, https://episcopalchurch.org/posts/ogr/episcopal-litany-social-justice

Daily Devotional | Wednesday, February 3

  Image courtesy of Kenneth Fowler

Wednesday, February 3

Luke 9:52b-56 “On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Le Jour ni l’Heure, detail, 1988. 
Courtesy of Renaud Camus.

Like James and John, we too are programmed to respond competitively to those we consider “them” to our “us”. In Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White, noted historian David Roediger writes: “Even as the world of work mercilessly taught the importance of being “not black,” it also exposed new immigrants to frequent comparisons to African Americans and at times to close competition with them. Management created an economics of racial inbetweenness that instructed new immigrants on the importance of racial hierarchy while leaving their places in that hierarchy open to judgment. The ways in which capital structured workplaces and labor markets contributed to the ideas that competition would be cutthroat and should be racialized. In the early twentieth century, employers preferred a labor force divided by race and national origins.” He goes on: “The shifting, contested, and often incomprehensible opinions of experts had posited that forty-five or more different “races” had migrated to the United States.” We often divide America on paper into two races black and white but in praxis we continue to divide along multiple racialized groupings either explicitly or implicitly. Teddy Roosevelt’s “American Race” remains an ideal though no such “race” exists. The “melting pot” remains a tool for oppression with race its most potent weapon.


Action step: Today, with brutal honesty, ask yourself how many races you believe exist in your church, community, and nation. How do you define “race” when applying it to these communities? How aware are you that you see persons as members of races? What concrete steps might you take to dispel these imposed categories in your life and ministry?


Prayer:

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to acknowledge our complicity and shame for the systemic

discrimination and pervasive institutional racism we have accepted and fostered.

We need mercy to forgive and the humility to ask for forgiveness for our sinful actions and beliefs.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to open our eyes and minds to see the steps forward we must take. We need mercy to learn what we do not yet know.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to move into a future of respect, equality and partnership

with each other.

We need mercy to make the changes required to live in peace together.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need the grace that calls us to align our actions with your vision

for relational harmony.

We need mercy to seek the wholeness of shalom.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

George R. Crisp – this prayer was shared on July 8, 2020  by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism E-mail

The Connection Between the Church and Pretzels

Bavarian Pretzels

In the Medieval Period, the Catholic Church imposed stricter rules regarding fasting and abstinence during Lent than modern times. Meat, dairy, and eggs were prohibited during Lent. Grains, yeast, and water were acceptable. 

Legend has it that monks baked folded strips of bread dough in the basement of a monastery, to resemble the crossed arms of praying children to reward them for learning their prayers. This is one theory of the birth of the pretzel. 

By the 1600s, the interlocking pattern of the pretzel became the symbol of undying love. It is said that royal Swiss couples used a pretzel in their wedding ceremonies. This sealed the bond of matrimony, and might have stemmed from the phrase “tying the knot”, since pretzels were shaped to resemble that form. 

It would be unfair to tell you all about this baked good without sharing a recipe.

Pretzel Dough

Recipe for Bavarian Soft Pretzels – Makes 8 

  • 3.5 oz active dry yeast (half pack)
  • 10 oz lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp softened unsalted butter
  • 4 quarts boiling water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt (or substitute Kosher salt)
  1. Mix yeast and sugar in lukewarm water and add to flour
  2. Mix salt in softened butter and knead into dough then cut into 8 pieces
  3. Roll each piece out to 25 – 30 inches long
  4. Twist into a pretzel form, cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise for 12 minutes
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  6. Bring water to a boil then add baking soda
  7. After rising, boil pretzel dough for 30 seconds and remove with slotted spoon
  8. Place on a cookie sheet/baking pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat
  9. Top the pretzels with course salt and let rest for 20 minutes
  10. Bake about 20 minutes, remove, and place of cooling rack

Highlights From World Communion Sunday!

On the first Sunday in October, United Methodist congregations join many Christian churches worldwide to celebrate World Communion Sunday. The World Communion Sunday Offerings provide scholarships for national and international students, particularly first-generation college students and ethnic students. 

At PUMC, we have a vibrant international community, a testament to our church’s love for diversity and inclusiveness. This year’s communion worship service went virtual from our different homes, allowing us to share bread and wine from our different cultures. As part of our celebration, we welcomed and dispersed our congregation in various languages. We hope everyone had a fun and memorable day!  

To watch our World Communion Sunday worship service on Facebook, click here

Haile Selassie’s address to the United Nations, 1963 …

Famous Words by Former Emperor of Ethiopia

Haile Selassie

“That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained” H.I.M Haile Selassie 1963.

To watch Bob Marley sing “War/No More Trouble” in 1977, click here: https://youtu.be/vPZydAotVOY

END RACISM RESOURCES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In its response to white supremacy, racism — and the police brutality that has resulted in nationwide protests — the United Methodist Church has this to say:

“The denomination’s Council of Bishops called for every United Methodist “to name the egregious sin of racism and white supremacy and join together to take a stand against the oppression and injustice that is killing persons of color.” It added: “The United Methodist Church has created an advertising campaign, #EndRacism, in an effort to actively engage in the ministry of dismantling racism and promoting racial justice. Logo courtesy of resourceumc.org.”

It also issued a statement saying, “The United Methodist Church has mounted a denomination-wide campaign, “United Against Racism,” that urges its members not only to pray, but to educate themselves and have conversations about the subject, and to work actively for civil and human rights.”

We at PUMC have compiled “End Racism” resources to help us better understand the Black Lives Matter Movement, systemic racism in the criminal justice system, social repercussions of slavery, and inequality in America.

At this moment in history, white people have become allies of black people fighting for racial justice. These resources addressing racism and anti-racism include lists for all ages as well as for both white and black families.

This extensive collection of books, articles, podcasts, films, videos, songs, poems is curated to include resources sourced from other lists. It will hopefully help us learn and have conversations about racism as it affects every aspect of our society. We invite you to navigate through the resources you like and select what to read or watch and be informed.

If you find something to add, please email it to communications@PrincetonUMC.org and tag it with #praywithusPUMC on your social media page.

—- Isabella Dougan

Continue reading “END RACISM RESOURCES”

#praywithusPUMC to End Racism Prayer Guide 5

 

DAILY PRAYER TO END RACISM

DAY FIVE

DAY OF MATURITY – HANDS & FEET                                             

  • God’s Word for Today 

John 4:15 

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

  • Reflection

At the end of the healing process, if we don’t want to get ill again, we need to make the change that we want to see in our life. In this scripture passage, we can see that it is important to ask for what we need. The Samaritan woman is asking Jesus to give her the living water and only once she is asking Him, He can give it to her. In this day of Prayer Vigil, we are focusing on our needs, to understand exactly what we are requesting in our lives and for the world. God is hearing us. God will embrace all our needs and requests. By understanding what we really need in order to end racism and to create the real community of all living creatures together, we will be able to receive the right guidance for our Hands and Feet to make it happen. 

Recall that Jews and Samaritans were two ethnic-cultural groups who did not mingle with one another. And yet here, they come together through service. Jesus asks, “will you give me a drink?” And African-Americans are asking, “will you let me breathe?” It is through compassionate service for each other that the two communities can become family.

Let’s take this day to put the light on what is going on in our country as much as what is going on in ourselves from the action perspective. 

  • Prayer and contemplation

What do you really need and how can you ask for it to benefit all involved?

What do you/we need to do in order to end racism, racial tensions, and racial inequalities?

What new direction can you/we decide to follow and how can we make it happen?

How can you/we make sure to commit to the new resolutions taken?

How do you hold yourself accountable in the long run?

We invite you to light a candle, take a cross or a bible, and go simply in a calm space and start breathing for a few seconds.

Shine the light on the things that you need, on the things that you want to change or to be changed. Shine the light on the action you want to take and sustain.

Ask God to support you in your pain and towards happiness.

Ask the Holy Spirit to heal you and everyone.

Ask the Son, Christ, to be with us and in us so we can not only believe, not only follow but abide.

Together we pray.

We believe there is a way to put the human first and not his/her appearance. There is a way to see love, God, and Jesus in each of us and all around us. We pray for not falling into the trap of division, of nurturing separation amongst humans, of playing the game of destruction that darkness wants us to play by forcing us to choose one side of the battlefield whereas Jesus taught us that there is a way out of the battlefield, a third way, a universal solution, which is the one of reconciliation with God and with one another, the one of the Living Church that is the one human family, where the Holy Spirit is always dwelling, nurturing and bringing us out of the division, towards reconciliation and unity, above and beyond all forms. We believe that today is a day when all of humanity will come together, be reconciled, and love each other in one universal community of humans and of all living creatures, under the banner of unconditional love and altruism.

Let’s end racism, once and for all.                                        

One human family, in God.                                      

Click here for the Prayer Guide Introduction