Dear Hyde Park Family,
I invite you to read to the end of today’s Midweek Message, for the latest information about our guidelines for resuming on-campus ministries, as well as an important announcement about the potential purchase of additional property for the church.
SEVEN THINGS GOD HATES
Before there was David Letterman’s “Top Ten Lists,” and before there were viral, click-bait lists on Buzzfeed.com, there were biblical passages like Proverbs 6:16-19, our daily reading last Monday as part of our year-long Bible Project 2020. And as I shared last week, these Proverbs come to us at just the right time.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family.”
Unlike many other lists in the Bible that focus on holy and righteous spiritual traits, this one describes the shadow of sin within us all, which we would not readily acknowledge but eventually come to light.
So, the simple question today is this: Which of these areas do you need to confront and confess?
1. “Haughty Eyes”
Pride is a stealthy sin. It convinces us that we know more than we think we do, and that our opinions are better than everyone else’s. In this season of a pandemic and racial injustice, we need to practice more curiosity and humility, and much less blustery bravado, in our approach to problems. We don’t know it all.
2. “A Lying Tongue”
I doubt that anyone in this church regularly lies on purpose. We do our best to speak the truth, as we understand it. But in a world driven by interactions on social media, this phrase reminds us to be mindful of where we get our information, to make sure that what we share is factual and from a reputable source. Make fact-checking a regular practice.
3. “Hands that Shed Innocent Blood”
The death of George Floyd is further evidence of systemic injustice and racism built into our communities and our nation. For many of us, the swing of emotions has included grief, anger, worry, and helplessness. For those feeling called to channel those feelings into action, please read about our new Justice Group at the end of this message.
4. “A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans”
In the Bible, the word heart refers to the entirety of one’s being, not just one’s emotions or feelings. This phrase reminds us that we are not merely to do good works; we should do them out of a holy and pure motivation. That requires self-reflection, humility, and a penitent spirit. What’s your motivation?
5. “Feet that Hurry to Run to Evil”
By this point in the passage, we’ve been given a lesson in human anatomy. Eyes, tongue, hands, heart … and now we get to feet. It is our feet that carry us to perform acts of sin. But it’s more than that. The word admonition of hurrying underscores the need for self-control and self-discipline. We cannot escape the emotions we feel. But we can certainly control how we express them.
6. “A Lying Witness Who Testifies Falsely”
And there it is again. Of the seven things that God hates, lying is the only one to appear twice. It’s that important to tell the truth, and it’s that elusive to keep doing so. Being truthful in what we say, how we act, and the sources from which we draw our information – these all require regular, diligent attention.
7. “One Who Sows Discord in a Family”
Often in the Bible, the number seven suggests finality and completion. The fact that this one is the seventh item on the list suggests that this is the most difficult, and most important, quality to maintain.
In such a deeply polarized world, and in a time when our prejudice and institutionalized oppression would tear us further apart from each other, we are ultimately reminded that the greatest way to be part of God’s redemptive work is to participate in reconciliation.
NEW JUSTICE GROUP
To that end, we are grateful for the creation of a new group in the church that focuses on advocacy and awareness of issues of justice in our community. It is simply called our “Justice Group,” and it helps people get involved in three ways: 1) Participate in the Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, (HOPE) 2) Serve on a team to plan justice-related gatherings in the church, and 3) Engage in learning groups about racial reconciliation and other justice topics.
To learn more about this new group, along with HOPE, there will be an information session at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 22. The meeting will last 30-45 minutes and will introduce people to the ministry, its leaders, and how to get involved. To get the zoom link, email Ann Pointer. And for more information, contact Justin LaRosa.
Yes, these continue to be difficult and unsettling days. But the book of Proverbs reminds us that God will give us just enough wise instruction and strength of spirit to be the people we are called to be. It is still good to be the church.
See you Sunday!
GUIDELINES FOR RESUMING ONSITE PROGRAMS AND MINISTRIES
As more establishments begin to resume operation in our community, we want to share with you the general guidelines created by our key lay leaders in determining when and how to gradually resume onsite programs and ministries. Go to our website to read more, including the names of those in our leadership team, important resources for further reading, and an email link to offer your comments and questions.
POTENTIAL PURCHASE OF THE WOMEN’S CLINIC OF HYDE PARK
The Trustees have moved through a due diligence period in evaluating the church’s potential purchase of the Women’s Center of Hyde Park. Leadership teams have created an information summary [PROVIDE LINK] that addresses key questions regarding the possible purchase. Stay tuned for updates on upcoming information sessions, and a possible Church Conference in July in which church members would vote on the sale. For comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.