Grace & Favor to you All,
I must confess to you that, out of six years of writing newsletter articles for women, this month has been the most challenging for me. A bit of my history & background may help shed some light on my challenge. I don’t know the words to say that will not offend someone so here we go. I am who I am.
I was born & raised in Joliet, Illinois: that small town had so many opportunities & teachable moments that I still carry with me. As this nation is celebrates & commemorates the life & legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I go back to the riots of 1968. That was my first experience of civil unrest. We had our own little outburst in the school I was attending. The next week, while America was erupting, a group of us got to together to find a better way other than fighting, looting & burning. The group was comprised of students from various ethnic backgrounds. Afro-Americans (as I was called then), Latinos & a mixture of whites, or Europeans. We made certain that there were kids with ancestry from Greece, Italy, Poland, Germany, Russia, Sweden, & as I recall one from Czechoslovakia. There were Christians, Jews & Muslims; truly a rich group of diversity. Name a region & we had someone from there. We named our rather large group the Human Relations Committee. In 1968 I became a social activist.
Now, in 2019, I see a country in worse shape that it was in 1968. I am no longer a student starting a movement towards peace & justice, but a Christian Leader, saddened by what I see & hear on the news.
We all can recall back in the 90’s; people were so into WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). You don’t hear that phrase much anymore. We don’t like to think about what Jesus would do because that conversation would lead us into more debate, division & confusion. What Did Jesus Do? is a far better question.
Scriptures that reflect what to do in times such as these:
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
¨ “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
¨ “Get rid of all bitterness, rage & anger, brawling & slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind & compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
¨ Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
¨ “My dear brothers & sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak & slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth & the evil that is so prevalent & humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:19-21
¨ “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure & faultless is this: to look after orphans & widows in their distress & to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
I could go on & on! Jesus, who we profess to love, honor & follow, is mandating us to let our voices be heard. It is not a question of What Would Jesus Do? The real question is What Are WE Doing in His Holy Name? We have all read the scriptures, we know what needs to be done, we don’t need to have conversation or debate. We must be about the business of the Father to alleviate suffering, hunger, the lack of shelter & the general sense of peril to all of humankind that was made in the image of God.
Yes, I am an activist, I believe as I did in 1968 that God created us to be different flowers in His garden & that we can & must coexist in harmony with one another. I will leave you with this:
“Now we ask you, brothers & sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord & who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. & we urge you, brothers & sisters, warn those who are idle & disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other & for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-19
Light & Love,
WNALC - Women of the North American Lutheran Church
The Chair's Corner
JACQUI EL TORRO
WNALC Council Chair