Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Shepastor Highlights: "Yet They Walked..."

A couple of years ago, I wrote this post, reflecting upon the perseverance of those who were escaping brutal conditions. In light our country's current struggles to embrace or reject those who are similarly fleeing, these words seemed appropriate...

Hebrews 12The Message (MSG)
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Recently, my husband and I had to take a driving trip “down south” to attend a family memorial service. Our geographical location requires us to cross the Ohio River, the commonly referred to demarcation between the North and the South. Each time we make the trip…coming and going, I reflect upon our tortured history in America.

As an African American woman, I can’t help but think about the impact of slavery upon our lives…then and now. Crossing that river in a car draws me into a place where I think about the men, women, boys and girls who didn’t drive, but WALKED literally thousands of miles to get to the North. They knew not their future...going who knows where to escape the horrific realities of plantations, kidnappings, lynchings, beatings, degradation, humiliation… inhumane conditions.

Fleeing on foot…hiding in bushes, muffling children’s cries…soaking in water to hide their scent from vicious dogs all in hopes of freedom. Praying, searching, crying, hurting, looking for relief…trusting in the whispers of others who found solace in the homes of godly men and women along the Underground Railroad who risked life and limb to provide food, shelter, protection to run- away slaves.

Yet, they walked…thousands of miles to cross that river. Yet they walked…looking for another city…yet they walked, uncertain of the future but so happy to leave that pain in the past…they walked, and walked and walked towards freedom. Broken digits, mangled limbs, aching feet, cramping uteruses, filthy, sweaty bodies, hungry stomachs, thirsty tongues, praying minds, determined spirits…they walked.

When we are tempted to give up, may we remember they walked…when we are struggling and in pain, may we remember they walked…when we are thinking of complaining, may we remember they walked. They are part of that great cloud of witnesses. In our hearts, in our deliberations, in our struggles for what is good and right and holy, may we remember their walk…let freedom ring!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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