Dear Friends of Second Church,
After the great joy of Easter last Sunday, today interjects a somber note, as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many of you will remember those days.
As it happens, I don’t.
My father had returned from Vietnam only a few months earlier; my mother was back in school, hurrying to finish a teaching credential and get a job—they were busy starting out and hadn’t yet started a family. So I arrived a little later — about two weeks before the shootings at Kent State in 1970.
But I have lived in the shadows, both of Dr. King’s moral vision and of the violence of those days, for much of my life. As we all have.
What I find myself pondering this morning is King’s tremendous hope for the Church, precisely in the face of turbulent and frightening times.
King spoke often about the call to be part of the “beloved community,” by which some understood him to be speaking directly about the Church—a community formed by and for the love of God and one another.
Actually, King’s hope went further than that.
He believed deeply in love of neighbor, and in the Church’s call to love and serve the world far beyond the walls of any particular community, or for the benefit of any one group—even a Christian one.
He believed that all people were loved by God and had a place in the beloved community, and that the charge of faithful people was to work together to ensure each person found that place.
He set a high bar back then. Perhaps it’s even higher now.
But in the days after Easter, I’m reminded that we stand under not only King’s call, but Jesus’ call to love and serve the world beyond the walls of any particular community.
The disciples were in complete disarray after Jesus’ death, miracle or no miracle. Yet they heard the call, and their mission grew clear.
We may feel scattered, ourselves, by a thousand different things, each important, too. Yet the call—and the vision of beloved community—still echo.
Imperfect as we are, burdened and busy as we are, may we seek to follow it.
See you in church,