JustChurch:  is an open and affirming worshiping community rooted in ancient practices and focused on acts of justice.
JustChurch is the ministering community of Beloved Community Initiative

Join us in person for weekly worship on Saturdays at 5:00pm  
at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St., Iowa City.

You are also welcome to join us on Zoom.  Click here to Contact us for the link.    

Liberation and Community: May 21

Worship with JustChurch on Saturday, May 21

JustChurch welcomes Donna Prime this week. Donna attended Kirkwood Community College and Drake University and has been employed at the VA Medical Center since 1991. Legally blind since the age of 12 with juvenile macular macular degeneration. she was the state president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa from 2014-2016. Donna was a founding member of Beloved Community Initiative and serves on the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

Meeting in a different location this week!
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Eastertide Weekly reading from This Here Flesh

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community which allows unemployed members to exist within it will perish.” When he uses the word “unemployed,” I don’t believe Bonhoeffer is talking about employment in the economic sense but rather as a fostering of purpose. He meant that each part of a community would have agency to affect the whole, in whatever way that may be—that the community’s survival would depend on each link. I have a friend who calls this mutuality, the truth that says, We don’t just welcome you or accept you; we need you. We are insufficient without you. One part’s absence renders the whole impoverished in some way, even if the whole didn’t previously apprehend it. In mutuality, belonging is both a gift received and a gift given. There is comfort in being welcomed, but there is dignity in knowing that your arrival just shifted a group toward deeper wholeness. 

People talk about God as three distinct people in one. If this is true, it means the whole cosmos is predicated on a diverse and holy community. And if we bear the image of God, that means we bear the image of a multitude. And that to bear the image of God in its fullness, we need each other. Maybe every culture, every household, every community bears that image in a unique way. 
- Arthur Riley, Cole. This Here Flesh (pp. 72-73). 

You can’t talk someone into their liberation. Telling someone to just get free is like telling someone to stop grinding their teeth in the night. It is not kindness. Freedom requires patience with ourselves, as it takes time to feel at peace if all you’ve ever known is insecurity. It’s the process of your soul learning to trust again—trust that it can rest and love and be still without being destroyed. 

When someone has endured bondage for so long and has still found some manner of survival, they may assess the risk of liberation to be greater than the violence of their chains. The clang and weight of our iron can even become forgettable as our tolerance for it grows. We can write songs to our chains without ever realizing what’s making that sound. 

This is never to be demeaned—when you’ve gone without food for so long, your stomach becomes used to smaller portions. If you’ve gone without a roof over your head, once you have one you may be less inclined to tell the landlord it’s leaking. 

In Beloved, Toni Morrison famously writes, “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” She nods toward a process by which our liberation is both found and operated within. You may very well find the Table, but when will you take the first bite? Will you look up and really see yourself? 

To have the audacity to be and love and know yourself in a world content to have you live your days in hiding—this is bliss. 

This allows you to move in the world in a way that isn’t jealous of other people’s freedom but desires it for them. You begin to crave it for those in your midst, because liberation loves company. It is not threatened by another person’s identity, because liberation is not a scarcity. It can only affirm itself in another person.
- Arthur Riley, Cole. This Here Flesh (pp. 189-190).


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