A Message to the Church from the
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or
moment – when the stain of bigotry has once again covered our land, and when
hope, frankly, sometimes seems far away, when we must now remember new martyrs
of the way of love like young Heather Heyer – it may help to remember the deep
wisdom of the martyrs who have gone before.
The year was
1967. It was a time not unlike this one in America. Then there were riots in
our streets, poverty and unbridled racism in our midst, and a war far away
tearing us apart at home. In that moment, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
wrote a book, his last one, with a message that rings poignant today. It was
titled, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”
One of his
insights then was that a moment of crisis is always a moment of decision. It
was true then and is true now. Where do we go from here? Chaos? Indifference?
Avoidance? Business as usual? Or Beloved Community?
follower of Jesus of Nazareth because I believe the teachings, the Spirit, the
Person, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have shown us the way
through the chaos to true community as God has intended from the beginning.
way of love, he has shown us the way to be right and reconciled with the God
and Creator of us all. Through his way of love, he has shown us the way to be
right and reconciled with each other as children of God, and as brothers and
sisters. In so doing, Jesus has shown us the way to become the Beloved
Community of God. St. Paul said it this way: “In Christ God was reconciling the
world to himself” and now he has entrusted us with “the message of
reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
I know too
well that talk of Beloved Community, which Jesus was describing when he spoke
of the kingdom of God in our midst, can be dismissed as nice but naive,
idealistic yet unrealistic. I know that.
But I also
know this. The way of Beloved Community is our only hope. In this most recent
unveiling of hatred, bigotry, and cruelty, as Neo-Nazis marched and chanted,
“The Jews will not replace us,” we have seen the alternative to God’s Beloved
Community. And that alternative is simply unthinkable. It is nothing short of
the nightmare of human self-destruction and the destruction of God’s creation.
And that is unthinkable, too.
We who follow
Jesus have made a choice to walk a different way: the way of disciplined,
intentional, passionate, compassionate, mobilized, organized love intent on
creating God’s Beloved Community on earth.
Maybe it is
not an accident that the Bible readings for the Holy Eucharist this Sunday
(Genesis 45:1-15; Isaiah 56:1,6-8; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; and Matthew 15:21-28)
all point toward and bear a message of God’s passionate desire and dream to
create the Beloved Community in the human family and all of the creation.
and in the days and weeks to come, as we gather in community to worship God and
then move about in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, social
circles and more, we will be faced with a choice. I ask and invite us as
congregations and individuals who are together the Episcopal Church of the
Jesus Movement to intentionally, purposely, and liturgically rededicate
ourselves to the way of Jesus, the work of racial reconciliation, the work of
healing and dismantling everything that wounds and divides us, the work of
becoming God’s Beloved Community. Resources that can assist us in doing this
work are included with this message, including an adapted version of the
Becoming Beloved Community vision that our church’s key leaders shared this
spring. I urge you to spend time reflecting with them individually and in your
Where do we
go from here? Maybe the venerable slave songs from our American past can help
us. In the midst of their suffering, they used to sing …
And don’t you get weary.
Cause there’s a great camp meeting
In the promised land.
We will walk
there … together. We will make this soil on which we live more and more like
God’s own Promised Land. So God love you. God bless you. And let’s all keep the
Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Bishop and Primate