Freedom is cherished by every man,and the story I share today is about the endurance of a free spirit. There are many stories that emerged from the American civil rights movement, but this is one that speaks to the power of knowing that your cause is greater than you. When you are making a stand for a cause that drives you heart and soul, suffering is necessary and worthwhile.
Martin Luther King used to tell the story of Sister Pollard, a seventy-year-old African American woman who lived in Montgomery, Alabama during the now famous bus boycott. One day, after walking significant distances daily for several months, Sister Pollard was asked if she wanted a ride. When she answered, “No,” the person responded, “But aren’t you tired?” To which Sister Pollard answered, “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.”
Resurrection living is moving beyond our fears and trusting that God is fashioning a way out of the difficulties of our lives. It is a celebration of a promise that a new world is unfolding. This leads us to affirm that our souls are rested. We will continue to face all kinds of challenges and struggles along the way; “our feets will be tired,” but our spirits will be strengthened through the presence of the risen Christ. This is the good news we celebrate every Easter. There is no tragedy that God cannot redeem, no dream- even the elusive dream of peace on earth—that the God who raised Jesus from the dead cannot energize and advance.
Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed!
- Christ the Lord is Risen Today! (dothisinremembranceofme.wordpress.com)
As Americans we tend to get the idea that we can do anything. It is sort of a vision of invincibility. After all we took the lead in WWII, put the first man on the moon, saw the Soviet Union fall, led the cyber age and have the strongest economy in the world. With all those things on our side what can be against us?
The world seems to be filled with hate for the USA. Our utter disbelief and horror as we have endured one shock after another. The time has come for us to take stock of ourselves, to look deeply into our beings and to find the root of our strength. Long ago the Psalmist said: –
A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his place he hears my call: my cry brings me right into his presence—a private audience (the Message) Psalm 18:6
We now find ourselves in a situation where all our ready answers are failing to fill the bill. The only answer for us is to renew that great faith that is within us. It is God’s will to bring good to us all. God created everyone with great potential. He created us in his own image. -“to be a little lower than God.” -He will hear our cry in our darkest times and give us a private audience. The time has come to request that audience.
God calls on us individually to come to the realization that He is waiting to hear from us. If we all call upon the God of grace and peace to guide us in these strange times we will wake up to a radically changed world. . A world that is no longer at the daily mercy of terrorist but in the loving arms of the creator of us all. A creator that is capable of bringing love to the heart of hatred that drives the people who rob us of the peace that Jesus came into this world to give us.
First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One day Jesus was confronted by some of his detractors. They ask him what was the greatest command of the law. He told them to love God with all their beings. Then he added, ”Love others as much as you love yourself.”. That word love is just all over the place. Yet we live in a world that thrives on power and the ability to control. If we need to use force, we will. The message of Jesus is one of love and grace.
Our great challenge is to. learn to live with that love in our lives. Lives that are filled with love can easily be spotted. They stand out in the crowd. Their demeanor can calm a tense room. Their gentle spirits can soften a hostile crowd. Their openness can bring acceptance to all they touch. If we can discover the secret of love of Jesus we can conquer the world.
Jesus does give us a few hints that can help us climb the mountain of self-absorption that we find ourselves facing. His love is a giving love. He gave his all for you and me. His love comes without price to us. We all too often demand a price for our love; it is a conditional love. When Jesus opens his arms his love reaches out to everyone not just to those who respond.
Maybe you and me can try to practice the love that is giving and free. It might be a big challenge but with God’s help we can do it.