1 Corinthians 7:17-40
Now after John was arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee,
proclaiming the good news of God,
“The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God has arrived;
repent, and believe in the good news.”
I am writing this on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
In addition to being a Christian preacher, Dr. King focused his energies on organizing people in the struggle for justice and righteousness. Of course, he is most known for his quest for civil rights for Black and Brown people in the USA. You may not be aware that he also worked hard for economic justice for poor people (of any color). When he died, he was visiting Memphis to support the people who handled the city’s garbage, whose wages were too low to live on, and whose health care would not be covered even when they were injured while doing their dirty, dangerous jobs. Dr. King went there to call that city to repent.
Whatever you may think of the state of relations between people of color and Whites in the USA today, you may be sure that Dr. King would find plenty of issues to work on, if he were in town now. He would have turned 89 years old today.
Far more importantly, I hope you realize that Jesus finds plenty of issues to work on today, as he comes to us where we are. Each of us as individuals has sin and neglect to repent from. And our society and our nation and our world also have sin and neglect to repent from. You understand that individuals sin and fail. Consider the fact that groups of people also sin together by what we do and by what we refuse to do.
I did not go to Charlottesville to stand in solidarity with my Christian colleagues last Summer, when the White supremacists came to town. I felt bad about not going, but I felt good that one of our churches of the Shenandoah Association, Sojourners United Church of Christ was on the scene to represent the kingdom of God in the face of sin and denial.
One Sojourners UCC member in particular has stepped up to lead Charlottesville’s faithful people in the struggle against hatred. She is Brittany Caine-Conley, a 2014 graduate of Eastern Mennonite Seminary (of which I am also an alumnus) and she’s about to be ordained as an authorized minister of the UCC, this coming Sunday, January 21st !
I am proud of Brittany and her mission. Please pray for her and her colleagues and the faithful people of Charlottesville.
I would simply point you to Jesus. Jesus told us to love God first and then to love our neighbors as ourselves- specifically, to love our neighbors who seem “different” from us (see Luke 10 and Matthew 5 and 25, and we can discuss this further).