Newsletter

January 17, 2021 

I offer these words for your prayer and reflection this week:

“Love is patient and kind” 
says the apostle Paul.
Yes, and love also stands up for truth,
 rooted in a vision for justice.
Love does not passively accept the status quo 
simply as “what is.”
Rather, love compels us to act 
to change the status quo.
It was the apostle who also said to the community in Ephesus, 
“speak your truth in love.” (Ephesians 4: 15)
Both are needed, 
as one without the other is incomplete.

Yet sometimes, injustices are so great 
it is hard to find an ounce of compassion within us.
When we cannot find the grace 
to extend compassion, 
turn to the Source of compassion, 
remembering that the sunshine of God’s love 
shines on the “good” and “bad” alike.
May we remember 
the words of the Psalmist: 
“Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
   righteousness and peace will kiss each other.” (Psalm 85: 10) 
When we are surrounded by such injustices 
as we witnessed at the Capitol riots, 
let's remember 
the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound 
to the starless midnight of racism and war 
that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood 
can never become a reality... 
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love 
will have the final word."

Friends, in this time where we are witnessing far too much systemic racism in our country, let us remember Martin Luther King Jr. and ask how we can continue his legacy.  As we watch the three pandemics of racism, disparity, and violence plague our nation and our world, I am inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. ’s deep spiritual convictions that were the foundation of his commitment to the work of racial justice rooted in nonviolent love.  This Monday January 18th (from 10am-12pm) is the 11th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Interfaith Service.  Join us as we seek to live into the ideals he set forth.  Though the day is entirely virtual this year, there will be opportunities to serve, hear an inspiring speaker from Chaplains on the Way (in Waltham), and reflect on how we can continue Martin Luther King Jr.'s social justice legacy.  You can register here: (all are welcome): http://www.brandeismlk2021.eventbrite.com

Later this month, Agape will be starting some small spiritual formation groups, meeting once a month from January to June 2021, with 3-4 people per group.  Spiritual discussion topics will rotate monthly (suggestions welcome).  If you're interested in taking part, sign up by Monday, January 18th here: https://tinyurl.com/agapesmallgroups2021

Next weekend at our Sunday service we will be reflecting together on how we can integrate the power of retreats into our communal life and our services.  We had a number of speakers over the course of 2020, and a lot of food for thought.  Here are links to some Sunday services we recorded in case you want to look over the inspiration we received from Asha Nayaswami, Rev. Dr. Kirk Jones, and Rev. Dr. Leon Campbell

With you in believing that unarmed truth and unconditional love  will have the final word,

Matt
              
Agape Virtual Events and Actions, open to ALL:
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Agape Small Spiritual Formation Groups
These small groups will start from January 2021 to June 2021, meeting once a month, with 3-4 people per group.  Spiritual discussion topics will rotate monthly (suggestions welcome).  If you're interested in taking part, you can sign up here by January 16th: https://tinyurl.com/agapesmallgroups2021

Let's Meditate Together!
Agape Meditations:
2nd and 4th Thursday nights each month for 2021:
Thursdays January 28th 
Thursdays February 11th & February 25th 
Thursdays March 11th & March 25th
Thursdays April 8th & April 22nd
Thursdays May 13th & May 27th
Thursdays June 10th & June 24th 
7:15-7:45pm: Virtually via Zoom (login info below)
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2043377541
Join us to fill your cup with various meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative practices.  All are welcome.  Led by Rev. Matt Carriker and Agape leaders.

Agape and the Power of Retreats
Sunday, January 24th at 4:30pm
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2043377541
Over the course of 2020, Agape got a grant to explore the question "How can we integrate the wisdom of retreats into our services and common life?"  After many guests and speakers, let's reflect together on what we've learned and what wisdom we can take with us.

Initiating Inspiration Book Group: “How to Be An AntiRacist” 
Monday January 25, 7-8:30pm
A Partnership of Agape & the Waltham Public Library 
https://zoom.us/j/92028407841?pwd=VlBMMGgzYkZhRGordThTUklub1dVZz09
Meeting ID: 920 2840 7841
Passcode: vV1m6x
This is a Bi-Monthly Book Group in partnership with the Waltham Public Library. The current book is "How to Be An AntiRacist" by Ibram X. Kendi. All are welcome whether you have read the book or not.  This discussion will be facilitated by Maria Madison, Associate Dean of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

Initiating Inspiration Book Group: “I’m Spiritual, Dammit” 
Monday March 22, 7-8:30pm
A Partnership of Agape & the Waltham Public Library 
https://zoom.us/j/96974916961?pwd=cGJWT3hHR002Q0J6UTFiWm5YbFB1dz09
Meeting ID: 969 7491 6961
Passcode: rhw1qV
This is a Bi-Monthly Book Group in partnership with the Waltham Public Library. The March book is "I’m Spiritual, Dammit" by Jen Weigel. All are welcome whether you have read the book or not.  


To make a love donation to support the unfoldment of Agape's vision in the world of living and spreading unconditional love, you can donate at the link below, or checks can be made out to "SNEUCC" with "Agape" in the memo line (and mailed to 5 Farrant Rd., Natick, MA 01760).  In this season of giving, we invite you also to consider making a pledge to Agape in 2021.  
https://macucc-reg.brtapp.com/Agape

Agape Upcoming Events: http://www.agapewaltham.org/getinvolved/upcoming