We’re continuing our study of the building blocks. Have you completed your Soul Care Plan for 2018? Soul Care Plan Link Today’s topic is building block “D”, for Discipleship. What must I do to follow Jesus and what he teaches?
My thoughts (Steve Adams):
Years ago I saw The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, a TV movie I vividly remember to this day. The climactic scene showed 110 year-old Jane — a bit shaky, but with great dignity and determination — walk past the policemen toward the “White Only” drinking fountain, and defiantly take a drink!
The movie tells the story of this African-American woman who had been born during the slavery era and lived long enough to participate in the great civil rights movement of the 1960’s. It wasn’t her usual manner to make a public demonstration, but after a lifetime of suffering discrimination herself, her dear friend Jimmy, a young participant in the movement, was killed after being arrested for trying to get to one of those “White Only” fountains. Finally, Jane has had enough, so she sets her fears aside and reaches deep down inside herself to summon the energy to walk down that long sidewalk to taste the water of equality!
I believe Jesus has a message for all those who, like Jane, are prohibited from tasting the pure water of love, acceptance, and dignity:
Come to the water, stand by my side.
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied.
I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried, and I stove to remind you
That for those tears I died.*
Jane’s story is just one example of a “disease” that has plagued humanity from the beginning, which — in varying forms — goes something like this: “I/We are good, godly and deserving. You are bad, ungodly, and undeserving.” This mentality even infiltrates relationships between family members, friends, and church members. The Corinthian church needed to be told that — whether they were Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — they “were all made to drink of one Spirit.” There was to be no ranking of congregants in order of perceived importance by any part of the body of Christ. No one was to think they were superior or inferior, but all are honored!
Many in the past have said African-Americans are less because the Bible somehow implies that. Many say today that gays and lesbians are inferior and cannot drink God’s holy water. It took generations for people to see that racial equality is a message of the Bible. And, it’s taking generations for Christians to see that sexual-orientation equality is also a biblical standard. In short, it requires taking the same care to interpret verses such as Leviticus 19:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination”) as verses like 1 Corinthians 14:34 (“ . . . women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak . . . “) and also to see that there are passages that actually affirm gay, lesbian, and transgender people. If you haven’t read it yet, I would certainly recommend our church’s book, The Children are Free, to learn more about this.
Thought for the day:
Jesus I give you my heart and my soul.
I know that without God I’d never be whole.
Savior, You opened all the right doors,
and I thank You and praise You from earth’s humble shores.
Take me, I’m Yours.*
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.
*Quoted with permission from the song For Those Tears I Died (Come to the Water), written by Marsha Stevens.