I was supposed to be on study leave this week, gathering in Sonoma, California with a group of 14 pastors to study and learn and play and be rejuvenated for the year ahead. Instead, that gathering was cancelled due to the Omicron spike, and we have met on Zoom for a couple hours each day. It’s not quite the same, but if we have learned nothing else in this pandemic season, we have learned to pivot!
We are studying with a Womanist Biblical Scholar by the name of Yolanda Norton; she is best known for developing the Beyonce Mass (yes, the singer Beyonce). She is helping us read several Biblical texts from the perspective of a Black woman raised in the United States. She is calling our attention to the voices in the text that are often overlooked, challenging us ask such questions as, “Who is left out of the good news in this text?” “Who is being made ‘the other’ or who is not benefitting from this narrative?” It is good and challenging work, and on the eve of the MLK holiday, it reminds me that we still have so much work to do if we want to live into the full vision of the Beloved Community where all are heard, all are welcome, and all benefit from God’s blessings.
I’m sure this work will guide my sermon writing in the weeks and months ahead. I pray it will also guide my feet, Lord, while I run this race.