Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

“Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. – August 28, 1963

“Nobody’s free, until everybody’s free.”
Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights leader

History tells us that the United States has made considerable progress in the pursuit of civil rights for all people. Thanks to the courage and sacrifice of prophets like Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Bayard Rustin, and Betty Friedan, our country is slowly becoming a more tolerant and just nation. Perhaps one day all people will be judged by the content of their character and not by their gender, race, or orientation.

The battle is certainly not over, and probably never will be. But the progress is undeniable. This progress is not so apparent in some parts of our country and in many nations of the world where racism thrives, the persecution of minority religious sects continues, and Christians continue to be the most persecuted people in the world.

As followers of Jesus Christ, it is incumbent upon us to work for civil rights, and to speak out against racism and other forms of prejudice. Our voices and votes have power; power entrusted to us. It is my prayer that we will find ourselves on the “right side of history.”

By following Jesus, we can be a part of a revolution of peace and justice; Mine is the Church Where Everybody’s Welcome. It is not enough to use that phrase to bring us comfort. We must live it, mean it, and offer gracious hospitality to all of God’s people.

Jesus is the answer. Jesus sets us free. Jesus said, “Judge not lest you be judged.” Jesus talked more about judging others than he did about sin, heaven, or money.

Jesus sets us free by reminding us that it is not our job, calling, or business to judge anyone else’s behavior, color, or lifestyle. If you just keep working on the one who looks back at you in the mirror, you will have plenty to keep you busy.

“Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last.” You want to be free? Then quit judging others. You don’t have to understand or approve of those who worship differently, eat strange food, express their love in ways that seem foreign to you, change their names or genders, tattoo their bodies, or cheer for the San Francisco 49ers. Not your business, not your concern. Just love them; just love them, and let God take care of the rest.

History tells us that the United States has made progress in the pursuit of civil rights. Not a straight line, but progress. On October 27, 1838, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri signed an executive order that proclaimed that all Mormons must either leave Missouri or be exterminated.

Yes, we have made a lot of progress, and yes, there is a long way to go. Let us follow Jesus, and let us be found on the “right side of history.”

See you in Church,
Pastor Jim