Take Heart, Take Part

Take Heart, Take Part

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     We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
                                                                                                              –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his speech Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution  given at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968, Dr. King named the dramatic changes in technology, weaponry, and human rights that were revolutionizing society.  He implored his audience to wake up and develop new attitudes and responses to meet the day. Delivered just before the Poor People's March on Washington, this included adopting a "world perspective" which embraced brotherhood, and taking action to care for the impoverished and marginalized.
                
These words have bearing today as we face massive challenges to culture and society. Covid rates are soaring, government leaders are divided, school shootings continue, and wildfires rage.  The images from the one year anniversary of the insurrection at the Capitol remind us that white supremacy is rooted in our culture. It is easy to succumb to discouragement and dismay.

But our faith tells us to take heart.  As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that God dwells with us in human flesh.  As the Word comes to us through the Prophet Isaiah (Is. 60), we are assured that the glory of the Lord has risen upon us.  These beautiful words are good reading for winter days when darkness falls early and cold descends.  Take heart and turn your vision to everlasting light. Look up to the world that God imagines, a world where violence shall no more be heard.

Jeremy McLeod’s Hymn, The Universe is Bending found in the UCC song book Sing! Prayer and Praise echoes this wonderful message of assurance:                                          
           The Universe is bending,
           Stretching long and stretching out,
           Embracing all our struggles with
           Gentle arms of Hope.
 
           The Universe is bending,
           Stretching long and stretching out,
           And it’s leading toward Wholeness
           By the Clear Light of Love.
 
Yes, the universe is bending, but we cannot leave all the work to God.    We are not only invited, but compelled to take part in the work of building a universe where God’s love is manifest. God is counting on us to reach out and give a tug.
This takes intention as well as practice.  Dr. King, exhorted his audience at the Cathedral to be "co-workers." As we remember his life and celebrate his legacy, this is a good time to re-dedicate ourselves to anti-racism work.

The conference has several opportunities to build skills for dialogue: Each of these offerings can help us connect to one another and create beloved community. 

In this new year, be not discouraged; take heart.  Don’t stand by and lament; take part!  Join with your your siblings in the Southern New England Conference and help direct the trajectory toward peace.  Together we can share the love that drives out hate. As we bend toward justice, we can help mend this broken world.

May it be so.
 
 
 

Author

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Debby D. Kirk

Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference.  She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...

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