Dear Hyde Park Family,

“Roy G. Biv”
“Every Good Boy Does Fine.”
“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
“I before E, except after C.”

You recognize these. They are tools we learned as children to collect and retrieve facts that would be helpful throughout our lives.

But something has happened. With today’s portable personal technology, designed to store more and more personal information, our ability to remember has actually decreased. In a study a few years ago by Ian Robertson, professor at Trinity College in Dublin, dependence on such devices to remember birthdays, phone numbers, email addresses and other important data has diminished the memory capacity of our brains!

“People have more to remember these days, and they are relying on technology for their memory. But the less you use of your memory, the poorer it becomes. This may be reflected in the survey findings which show that the over 50s who grew up committing more to memory report better performance in many areas than those under 30 who are heavily reliant on technology to act as their day to day aide memoir.”

Here’s the lesson: True remembrance takes intentionality and effort. And that is as true of spiritual matters as it is of dates and numbers. It’s one thing merely to recall central elements of our faith. It’s quite another to allow those memories to shape our conscience and inform our behavior.

On over ninety occasions in the Bible, God called people to remember God’s saving activity throughout history, through rituals, prayers, and symbols. From the Psalms to the seder, from the Ten Commandments to the Beatitudes, the Bible is filled with reminders of our identity and calling as kingdom people.

ALL SAINTS’ SUNDAY

This Sunday, there will be a convergence of reminders — each one recalling our identity in Christ and our connection with those who have gone before us.

  • We will begin each service with a remembrance of the saints — the thirty members of our church as well as our loved ones and friends who have died since last November.
  • We will conclude each service by gathering at the Lord’s table, remembering our past and our future in Christ through the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.
  • And, after the 11 a.m. services, you are welcome to join us in the beautifully renovated Memorial Garden, between the Sanctuary and Knox Hall, for a brief consecration. We give thanks to Celia Ferman and her team of volunteers who helped re-envision the perfect place of remembrance for those who are laid to rest there.

A PRAYER FOR THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

We continue to grieve the loss of eleven lives in the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last Saturday. We also remember the shooting at a grocery store (and attempted shooting at a black church) in Jeffersontown, Kentucky and the politically charged mail bombing attempts last week. These are difficult days to be at peace, and to believe in the possibility of peace.

Let us be in prayer together, and then turn those prayers into action. Perhaps you might choose to offer this prayer, which prompts us to name our grief, acknowledge our brokenness and channel our thoughts and prayers into action in the voting booth this Tuesday:

Gracious and Eternal God, we acknowledge just how far this world still is from being the whole and restored creation you intend it to be. These days have been filled with violent reminders of injustice and hatred, and the evil that still resides in the human heart.

We are horrified by acts of political, racial and anti-Semitic terrorism. We have again seen the capacity of human beings to commit acts of violence with bombs and guns, targeting others who are different in political ideology or religious expression. We pray for the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those targeted by the alleged postal bomber. We pray for the victims of the shooting in Kentucky, and for all those who have died from gun violence.

Most of all, we pray your forgiveness for any ways we have failed to bring healing to our divisions, and fueled the polarized nature of our time. Forgive us, Lord, for the ways that we demonize others, rather than see Jesus in them. Empower us, Lord, to seek the way of peace, empathy and love. Show us the way, Lord, to resist evil, injustice and oppression. Help us, Lord, to channel our grief into action, exercising our civic duty to vote this Tuesday.

Grant us wisdom to discern those elected officials who will serve the common good, promote healing over divisiveness, and orient us toward the way of peace with justice. May the results of this election be in keeping with your best purposes for our community and our world. And remind us that only you, and no government agency or legislative act, can transform the human heart.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

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