Faces on Faith: So what happens next?
A few weeks ago I quoted the late Rodney King, who after enduring a brutal beating at the hands of police said “Can’t we all just get along?” Given the events of the past few weeks, it seems obvious that we are still struggling. This time it was a man named George Floyd. By this time most of us have seen the video multiple times. For me, it was difficult to watch. Understandably people were outraged and took to the streets in protest. In the past couple of weeks, the protests have not only grown in number but have spread throughout the world. Some of the protests have turned violent involving looting and rioting. So what happens next?
Given the present circumstances there is a cry for justice and change. It is relevant to mention our Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to The Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Growing up, we started each school day with this pledge. Memorizing is one thing but having the courage to live this out is another.
Just over two thousand years ago a small group of protesters waited for power from on high. They were followers of the man Jesus Christ and had witnessed his death and resurrection. During their days of waiting they must have wondered: what happens next? What happened was what we Christians call Pentecost. We celebrated Pentecost just weeks ago. On that day God empowered these few disciples to communicate the good news to a diverse group of people. Then, the apostle Peter delivered a powerful message which touched the hearts of a few thousand people. This is all recorded by the Gospel writer Luke in Acts Chapter 2. What happens next is powerful. As we read verses 42-48 we receive a snapshot of a new community where there is liberty and justice for all. This new community devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. All the believers were together and had all things in common, which means they were bound by a common purpose. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need. And finally they continued gathering together to praise God and had the favor of all the people. My point is that for justice to prevail and change to occur we must begin by looking at our own hearts. What happens next starts with me.
People of faith, we must rise up! God can and will empower us to make a difference. In the words of John Wesley:
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.