The service this past Sunday centered on the prayers of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Connecting with the divine presence was paramount for King in his work and struggle for justice. His faith and spirituality formed him. They guided the values and commitments of the movement in which he was a leader. Together with the words of the scriptures, they spurred his ultimate vision and hope for the beloved community* – God’s realm among us – to be a tangibly lived experience for all people.
We tend to look at King and others who wholeheartedly live committed to the beloved community as exemplary. Yet all who proclaim Jesus are called to this commitment. It is to this end that we are followers of Jesus. It is to this end that we exist as people of faith. It is to this end that Jesus came preaching the good news of God’s realm! As Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of heaven.” We seek God’s reign. We pray for its coming. We focus on the work.
Thus, our leaders in the Ministry Planning Team are providing opportunities for us to learn and become part of the beloved community more fully. Essentially, opportunities to be who we say we are. This work will require an intentional focus on what it means to become a pro-reconciling/anti-racist people. It will require us to assess our life together – our commitments, structures, traditions, assumptions, and thoughts – through that pro-reconciling/anti-racist lens. It will require us to see that in such a time as this (within the backdrop of racial and economic injustice, health disparities, an attack on the democracy of our country, and the hope of a new administration calling for unity) people of faith must lead the way.
Becoming the beloved community is a journey for all God’s people. As a congregation, we will begin our intentional focus on the journey on Thursday, February 4 at 6pm and continue each Thursday. Our conversation will be guided by the videos, Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man, created by Emmanuel Achu. The brief video each week will present themes for conversation among participants. Everyone in the congregation is invited to attend the one-hour weekly Zoom gathering, and we hope you will invite your friends or family to join us as well.
Additionally, we will provide other information and resources in the email each week in a new section called “Becoming the Beloved Community.” We pray to build our awareness and understanding, changing as we must to live the way of God’s liberating justice and transform our world.
* “Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.” ~ The King Center