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“For I was hungry and you gave me food.” Matt. 25:35

Sunday, January 19

The Lord’s Day

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Minute for Mission: Race Relations

The hands that poured water over baby Robin’s alabastar head while the alto voice declared, “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” had long, tapering fingers, with nails painted tastefully in seashell pink. The water beaded into tiny droplets on the coffee-colored hands of the one performing the sacrament that typical Sunday morning.

Over the years, Robin saw those same hands break bread and pour the cup; heard the same voice declare, “These are the gifts of God for the people of God.” When Robin became a youth elder, she heard the same voice call her session to order, charging the ruling elders to serve God’s people with, as the Book of Common Worship says, “imagination and love.”

It is with imagination and love—as well as insight, intelligence, faithfulness, creativity, and joy—that women of color serve (or pursue calls to serve) in all areas of ministry and mission. The beauty of Robin’s upbringing, especially as a white person, is that she never knew of a time when she could not experience a woman of color as her pastor.

How wonderful it would be for all God’s children to receive and accept the presence and leadership of women of color so readily! Together, let us build bridges and break down barriers, so that we may joyously echo the words of Psalm 40: “God put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

Nancy Benson-Nicol, associate for gender and racial justice, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

God of all creation, as we celebrate the decade of “Hearing and Singing New Songs to God,” we give thanks for the ministries of the women of color you call and equip for Christ’s service. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Isa. 49:1–7
“In Christ There Is No East or West”
HB 479, PH 439, 440

Ps. 40:1–11
“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
HB 85, PH 263

1 Cor. 1:1–9
“Now Praise the Hidden God of Love”
PH 402

John 1:29–42
“On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”
PH 10

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 19; 150
First Reading Genesis 7:1-10, 17-23
Second Reading Ephesians 4:1-16
Gospel Reading Mark 3:7-19
Evening Psalms 81; 113

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