Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live faithfully...in the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So great a cloud of witnesses...


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses....

We should remember William Lloyd Garrison, who founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in the 19th century. There was Joseph Cinque, the slave on the Amistad whose trial became part of the momentum in the abolitionist movement, the author Harriet Beecher Stowe whose novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", attacked the evils of slavery, Frederick Douglas who as slave, author, statesman, and reformer, laid groundwork for a different future. Of course, Abraham Lincoln, whose blend of courage, humility not only paved the way for countless leaders from subsequent generations, but whose wisdom in navigating the waters of a cultural divide and civil war led to the Emancipation Proclamation. Let's not forget Ghandi, whose principles of non-violence laid the foundation for Martin Luther King Jr's leadership, resistance and dream. Rosa Parks refused the back of the bus. John Perkins rebuilt. There was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, introduced by John F. Kennedy, and ulitmately passed through the hard work of Lyndon Johnson.

Time would fail us all if we tried to mention the other millions, on both sides of the Atlantic who contributed; Quakers, Wilberforce, the underground railroad... it just goes on and on with names that will never be known.

These are they who have gone before us, the witnesses who testified through word and deed that all people have dignity, that all people have capacity for greatness, that all people should be treated with dignity and granted opportunity. These ideals, I'll add, weren't created in a vacuum. They were ideals born out from a world view that believes in a God who loves all the nations, all people, every individual - and that government should be structured to assure such dignity and access for all.

let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us...

We're entangled, all of us are: entangled in the fruits of choosing greed over prudence and generosity, entangled in the fruits of linking sexuality with recreation rather than intimacy, entangled in the the fruits of violence, fear, arrogance. But this is our time to set aside our sin... to take up the mantle of responsibility, allowing the torch of hope that is symbolized in this day to burn with increasing clarity in the weeks and months ahead.

let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us...

It's a race in which we'll feel like quitting; otherwise we'd have no need for endurance. It's a race in which each of us have a part to play - each day, as we rise from our sleep to serve and bless our world, to function as "artisans of hope", a phrase coined by an author I know. And from where to do we get our fortification for this race, for this hope, for the carrying of the torch as a means of honoring those who have gone before us?

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

There He is - behind the breaking down of the dividing wall, the ending of slavery, the ushering in of reconciliation, the challenge to abuse of power, the call to justice - behind all of it, there He is: Jesus. The source. The life. The way. May we who claim Him as our life be found faithful, discerning, and a collective source of blessing for our world.

7 Comments:

At 20/1/09 11:39, Anonymous Will Hale said...

Thank you Richard, for your comments on Obama's speech. There is need to continually point out glimmering images of Christ in the artifacts of this culture from the clearest ones down to the little shards easily overlooked.

 
At 20/1/09 12:17, Blogger Joanie said...

Thank you for sharing. Well said...

 
At 20/1/09 12:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not hear a single "I" in his speech.
Significant.

 
At 21/1/09 08:51, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am praying for the help this country needs, but when I look at his staff choices all I see are the usual cast of characters playing musical chairs.

I am not sure if this is the change we need, as I expected some new blood whos interests are for the people and not politics.

 
At 21/1/09 13:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Native American, i am looking for ways to find joys,peace and change for my own peoples. i look forward to seeing and greeting my Creator, the Spirit of life and the Spirit of his peoples.
Thank you so much for the comments, Chief

 
At 21/1/09 13:56, Blogger mooskietx said...

What an amazing speaker he truly is. Did you see how good he looked too? I be he has worked out at the Gold's gyms in Dallas.

 
At 23/1/09 12:32, Blogger Tipton Grisham said...

Well stated.

It is in the hope that all things are being reconciled through Christ to bring peace to the earth that we can look to the future with excited anticipation. It seems we have arrived at a point in time where a thin place has become acessible through the collaboration of countless dreams and devoted toils. A multitude of devoted "artisans of hope" throughout history have brought forth this moment. I pray that many would take the time to heed the call of Him who stands at the door and knocks.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home