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"Moving Toward Beloved Community" - 12th Sunday After Pentecost - August 15, 2021

Moving Toward Beloved Community

The term “Beloved Community” keeps coming up here at St. Andrew’s, especially over the past year. You may know that this is a term used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The website of the national Episcopal Church has this to say about Beloved Community: “As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, we dream and work to foster Beloved Communities where all people may experience dignity and abundant life and see themselves and others as beloved children of God.”

Moving toward Beloved Community takes work. It takes faithful conversations and concerted effort. It’s worth the work. The closer we come to Beloved Community, the more we see God’s goodness and help others see God’s goodness. Our Psalm for today can help us understand a bit more about what that means in the life of St. Andrew’s.

Before we turn to Psalm 34, it will help to get a little introduction to the Psalms as a whole. For insight, let’s turn to a profound little book by the Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann: Spirituality of the Psalms.

The Psalms are both a record of faithful conversations and an invitation to continue to engage in faithful conversations. Culturally, the parts of the Psalms that seem to attract us are parts that speak of gratitude for the beauty and stability of life provided for us by God. Many Christians in our culture tend to act as though faithful conversations can only be conversations of praise and gratitude.

But the Psalms are not at all limited to this view of life. In fact, they frequently acknowledge that life can be full of suffering. Life can be disturbing. And faithful conversations take in all of life. Sometimes the Psalms pulse with guilt or fear or distress or anger. C