An engaging article by Rhonda Mawhood Lee at Duke’s “Faith and Leadership” can be found here, on the importance of Pentecost in challenging our nationalist, ethnic, and other assumptions. One quote:
“The biblical witness tells me the Spirit sends them: invitations to listen for truths spoken in an unfamiliar accent, to sing a familiar song to a new melody, to hear a Bible story narrated from a perspective I’d rather ignore because it threatens my understanding of the world.
God offers these invitations not because the church is one more diversity program to be tweaked according to the latest census data but because the messianic age has come. The reign of Babel has ended, and Jesus Christ’s followers are called to proclaim that reality.”
I have visited The King Center in Atlanta as part of the ECC’s Sankofa Journey – a weekend bus trip helping Americans look back at the history of racism and struggle for civil rights in our country in order to move forward and reconcile and move toward righteousness more deeply in the church. The King Center’s principles of non violence are powerful ones for me to remember today, on the day when we remember the life and untimely violent death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here are those powerful principles:
1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
Today I thank God for the power of nonviolence and the witness of MLK, for the ongoing witness of the African-American church in the US, and for the choice we have in Christ to also take up our cross, live out of faith, and keep one hand open to forgiveness while our other hand is fighting injustice. Amen.
The Covenant News service has a short story here explaining the war, famine, and obscene violence that is occurring right now in Congo. There is also a link provided to sign a petition asking the UN, Africa and Western authorities to put an end to the violence. This petition is being sponsored by the Paul Carlson Partnership and HEAL Africa – it takes minutes to read and sign it.