I have generally kept to the Scripture reading of the Daily Office the past couple of years. It keeps me in both the Old and New Testaments. There are also those amazing times when the reading I am working through in the Daily Office collides with the current world.
In this time of upheaval I am now in Ezekiel. It makes for eye opening reading.
“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”
In how I go forward in a politically divisive age, I continue to formulate my thoughts around the WHY and the WHO.
I listen regularly to Pass the Mic podcast because it comes from two young black Christian men. One is a historian. The other is a pastor. They bring perspective that challenges me and makes me think, especially when I disagree with them.
But this podcast summarizes well (not perfectly) how I am working on my voting process this year. I will not summarize nor will I answer questions asking me to summarize. You need to listen to their voices. I’m tired of summarizing. I need to listen more… as do each of us.
“Millions of Americans are coming to see that we are fighting an immoral war that costs nearly thirty billion dollars a year, that we are perpetuating racism, that we are tolerating almost forty million poor during an overflowing of material abundance. Yet they remain helpless to end the war, to feed the hungry, to make brotherhood a reality; this has to shake our faith in ourselves. If we look honestly at the realities of our national life, it is clear that we are not marching forward; we are groping and stumbling; we are divided and confused. Our moral values and our spiritual confidence sink, even as our material wealth ascends. In these trying circumstances, the black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws — racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be face.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. “A Testament of Hope” (published posthumously)
This concept can’t be avoided in Scripture (though we do a good job of trying). The gospel, the Kingdom, is this simple (and yet, this difficult):
“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Ps. 82:2-4)
Too often we have v. 2 down cold in our lives and practice. It is verses 3-4 we too often find ourselves failing.
The simplicity of the Kingdom of God is to keep our hearts and eyes and actions toward the marginalized. This is our great difficulty. We fail too often.
I will continually go back to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” on this weekend. Every time I draw something new from his challenge to folks like me… white moderates. I hear his rebuke to me more clearly each time.
I will continually draw from Dr. King throughout the year. This is a lesson I’ve established in these past few years, especially since moving to Alabama. His works and books on his life’s work are ever in front of me.