By the second Sunday of a “new” year, exactly 10 days in, we are haunted by headlines of last year. The forces of evil –and if you do not like that term, “evil,” then you are pressed to come up with some other term that captures the depravity of the human race and its nations roiling in war and terrorism–as I was saying, the forces of evil have marched into the new year, trampling the confetti and ribbons of our New Year’s celebrations underfoot.
What are we to do? What am I to do? The purveyors of violence have bought politicians; guns flood our streets; governmental and police response to perpetrators of violence is predicated on race or ethnicity; our cities implode; riding on the metro is not just a consideration about timeliness but one’s safety. Who are we? Who am I?
Perhaps the first pair of questions–rotated around the question of action–can only be answered by answering that second pair of questions–which rotate around identity and self-awareness.
Here is how we describe ourselves at Riverside Baptist Church, declaring at the close of our communion Sundays: we are a table fellowship, a covenant people, a welcoming table; we are a people loved by Christ and are in turn sent into the world to love the world, heal it, repair it and redeem it. When the question of identity is answered that way, then it becomes imperative that we treat others not only as we ourselves wish to be treated, but as Christ has loved us. By this power, the world can be transformed. Gandhi called this satyagraha or truth force. King created a non-violent movement that was founded on this idea. What are we to do? What am I to do? Resist for the truth, defy injustice, speak up for lovingly regarding others as fully human. And you might consider joining us in worship where every week, we remind one another about who we are and Whose we are. ~ See you Sunday
*Pastor Bledsoe’s sermon title for this Sunday is, myCloud (of witnesses)