Dear PCLT friends,
Happy Eastertide! I hope that you all are still holding on to the mystery and meaning of our journey through Holy Week – the wholeness of that time. As Chelsea rightly proclaimed last Sunday, “following Jesus is not for wimps.” It is using our whole selves, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to join God in bringing God’s kindom to the world around us.
This message resonates deeply with me as I reflect on last week’s trip to Washington D.C. With 11 other pastors from my Pastoral Leadership in Public Life fellowship, we heard lectures and dialogued with professors and clergy from Wesley Theological Seminary, the Center for Religious Study at the Museum of African American History and Culture, Howard University, and the Metropolitan AME Church. And on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, we remembered the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our conversations centered on the themes of MLK’s work addressing racism, poverty, and militarism. We talked about the grief and pain still plaguing this country and the hope in ministries bringing justice, liberation, and reconciliation. We were reminded over and over that King’s work is not done; that King’s values of freedom, equality, and nonviolent action must be kept at the forefront of our Christian faith.
On Sunday, I had the profound experience of worshiping at Metropolitan African Methodist Church – founded in 1838. This historic church has deep roots in the work of justice, liberation, and reconciliation. It is at the forefront of the civic, cultural and intellectual life of African Americans in the city.
Over the years, they have featured speakers such as Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jesse Jackson, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. They also hosted the national memorial service for Rosa Parks. Their current pastor, Rev. William Lamar, reminds us that, “the Christian faith is a vehicle for liberation.”
Our faith stories remind us of this too. As people of the resurrection, it is our call to be steeped in this work of liberation and equality – to listen to others, to honestly reflect on our own privilege, and to pray to be open to God’s new way, resurrected way, for us all. Truly, following Jesus is not for wimps. Thanks be to God!
With much gratitude,
PS I heard that you all had some similar conversations in Sunday school Isn’t God great?!!