Tag Archives: #allnatons #anbc #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #OurLivesMatter

Finding Freedom: Through Thick & Thin

th

Great God, oh mighty! Lord, have mercy! July is supposed to be a month where America celebrates its independence and a value system that is anchored in freedom. However over the past 31 days, we have experienced a resurgence of white supremacy groups as they fight to persevere the racist legacy of the confederate flag, increasing skepticism towards law enforcement agencies as wide-spread misconduct looms amid the investigation of Sandra Bland’s untimely death , and mass shootings, such as that which occurred in the theater in Lafayette, are becoming common-place, tabloid fodder. Not to mention people endure turmoil that doesn’t make news headlines everyday. Unfortunately, it would seem, that America is imprisoned by its own history, stuck in a cyclical culture of corruption, a thick fog that enables hypocrisy and prevents the actualization of the pioneering intention for American to be a City upon a Hill. Jesus, be a fence!

The Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5-7

The Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5-7

The concept of America being a beacon of light to the rest of the world was borrowed from Jesus Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount”  told over days to Jews, Gentiles, Christians and political leaders on a hillside near Capernaum. During his sermon, Jesus compares believers to the salt of the Earth and the light of the world: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” he said (Matthew 5:14). While this country was built upon the slavery and exploitation of marginalized ethnic groups, America’s  democratic government made it seem exceptional to the rest of the world.

However today, America’s concept of freedom may have transformed into wide-spread individualization and materialism. In Ecclesiastes 1:9 King Solomon extols of the meaninglessness of a life focused on prosperity without God. He professes, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” During biblical times, just as today, greed, pride and prejudice permeated society. To his disciples in the new testament, Jesus asks, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) Jesus teaches that succumbing to worldly pleasures makes one vulnerable to society’s maleficence and denies he or she the opportunity to be a light to the world in the glorious kingdom of God.

There were many people that tried to deny Jesus Christ’s divinity and proclaimed his teachings heresy. Saul, whose names became Paul after his conversion, was one of these men. Saul “breathed murderous threats” against Jesus, consequently offending God. One day Jesus spoke to him and gave him instructions to journey to Damascus. After this encounter Saul’s sight was gone but, he followed through with God’s plan. Late Jesus sent his disciple, Ananias, to restore his sight and fill him with the Holy Spirit. Miraculously his sight was restored. He became a believer and an instrument to spread the gospel. He proved to be a faithful servant of the Lord spreading light throughout the land.

Saul’s story illustrates that the murky gloom of ritualistic traditions and mob mentality – often endorsed by various societal institutions- can distort the light of the Holy Spirit. How can one break free of society’s bondage and emerge from the darkness? Where can one find strength to hang on through the thick and thin? Throughout history the light of God has always existed whether man sought to be in the Lord’s presence or not. When explaining the significance of the birth of Christ, John the Baptist notes “The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:6) Because of man’s denial, God was compelled to send his only begotten son. Probably one of the most important scriptures to understanding the Christian faith is when Jesus reveals, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 4:16).

So how can one find freedom? Be faithful, be renewed, be a light.

God bless,

All Nations Baptist Church

Advertisements

#OurLivesMatter because #AllLivesMatter

The third Monday in the month of January has been a national holiday, marked to commemorate the legacy of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr since 1983. Many people take the day off and others use it as a “day on,” to fortify the moral fiber of our nation by engaging in service projects and helping community members. As the year continues, we all should work towards keeping  Dr. King’s dream alive and integrating it into our own aspirations for America’s future.

IMG_1724IMG_1729

The social events of the past few months concerning the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York give pause to the conscience of righteous people. The deaths of African American males without the opportunity of the trial to hear all sides of the story leading up to the deaths is problematic. The church community according to scripture, in dealing with grave matters of this type, must “fast and pray.” Pray for strength to remain non-violent and fast from the materialism, over-consumption, commercialization, and systemic corporate powers, even police powers, which neutralize our will and ability to seek justice.

IMG_1730IMG_1726

Paul explained to the Romans that law is a powerless force when compared to the savior, Jesus Christ.

“Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?…  4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7: 1-6).

Because of Christ’s divine gift of rebirth, Christians are ultimately bound to our relationship to God, above all. Only through manifesting the Holy Spirit can we fully demonstrate love, pleasing in the eyes of God, and help America become a true beacon of light for the world.

God is a God of justice and requires each us to speak truth to corrupt powers and demand their accountability. The reason that Dr. King’s dream resonates over 50 years later is because it’s implications are much more significant than the passing of a law or election of a black president. Standing on a platform of godly love, his words transformed the imagination of the entire nation. People realized that the stain of the status quo didn’t have to taint the nation’s future. On a grassroots level, Dr. King is the consummate advocate, demonstrating effective strategies and techniques for mobilizing the masses and achieving change. Despite his legacy of activism, today, African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, homelessness, unemployment and inequitable educational opportunities. The movement coined #BlackLivesMatter has renewed a sense of communal identity and united people of all races, cultures and ages, to ensure that all men are treated equal in this country. People of God and goodwill have a responsibility to confront ungodly corruption, peacefully. Ministry work should have an impact beyond immediate church congregations. Seek to find a cause where you can use God’s love and sew seeds of justice.

IMG_1728 

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

God bless,

All Nations Baptist Church