1 Corinthians 10:1-5
10 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
As single parents we know how tough life can be, as have all been put through the wringer in one way or another; our world is not fair, and many have hard lives to live due to injustice, inequality, misunderstandings…and in some cases, just plain evil!
While in the midst of the struggle for civil rights Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of “The fierce urgency of now”, meaning that taking action against oppression could not be put off until it was safe or more convenient…but had to take place right away if we are to truly follow Christ’s liberating call to love one another other!
Of course paying attention to the ‘urgency of now’ does not mean that we should act blindly and rashly…I have made this mistake of acting on the spur of the moment (without thinking) many times, and the results were not often positive!
I believe that what Dr. King meant was that procrastination could be a dangerous luxury; however, not all action needs to be dramatic and bold…sometimes taking action means taking time to plan and think through what we need to do next!
Dr. King knew the value of planning, and did not act without thought and wise consideration…remember that when he led the second march across the bridge in Selma (yes I did just see the movie), he stopped and turned around, as he knew the time was not right, the way forward was fraught with danger; instead, he and his team decided to stop the march and wait until they had more protection from the misplaced anger of the crowds…Dr. King believed in action, but not in martyrdom.
As we face oppression and challenges in our own lives, from speaking out against the injustices of our world such as racism, war and poverty, to those that hit closer to home such as bullying, unfair teachers, disrespectful kids, involvement with drugs, friends who lead astray, our own financial and employment struggles, or conflicts with the ‘other parent’ over visitation, or how we are raising our children. In the midst of such challenges we may find ourselves unsure of how to proceed: we want to do the next right thing, but often we are unsure what that is!
And here we can learn another lesson from Dr. King: when we know action is needed, but not sure what to do, we can turn to God in prayer and turn to those around us in faith for support for help. Dr. King relied on those around him for advice and support: his wife Coretta, his friends Ralph Abernathy and Hosea Williams, and great organizers like Bayard Rustin along with many others who supported the cause of freedom.
When we act together in faith to address injustice both world-wide and close to home, Christ is in our midst, walking with us as we seek to heal our world, and promote reconciliation and justice; and when King and the others finally led the marchers across that bridge and on toward Montgomery, the face of Jesus could be seen in the sea of people who walked out of the darkness of racism and ignorance and into a brighter day!
And as followers of Christ it is this brighter day that we are called to bring about, as no matter what evil or injustice is spreading darkness in our world, we can defeat it with the light of God’s love!
For as Dr. King and others taught, the answer to hate is love, and the answer to oppression is the freedom found in liberating message of the Gospel proclaimed in the midst of our world! For it is through the good news of God’s love that we are freed from sin and injustice and bound to the grace of God; the grace that has the power to heal and to bring us all to reconciliation!
This grace can guide us in taking action for the good of our world, and the well-being of our children, this grace that can lead us to a brighter day filled with hope; for through Christ we have the promise that God will never again leave us in the wilderness of the unknown…but instead to bring us home to the Kingdom of God, where injustice and oppression will be unknown, and there will be no more challenges to face!
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, thank you giving us great leaders like Dr. King…leaders who knew they could not go it alone, that they needed the support of others, and your love in their lives. Help us to follow the example of Dr. King and others who have struggled to shine your light in the face of injustice and oppression in our world, and in our lives. Let us not be reluctant to ask for help, when facing our own struggles, or to help others as they face theirs. Guide us in our actions, as we follow the call to act as Christ in our broken world, working together for healing, reconciliation and justice!