Today's Lectionary Text
Isaiah 40:1,3-5Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
In the summer of 1978, as a freshman in college, our class was asked to write about someone whose words had impacted our lives in one way or the other. As our professor went around our small summer class, she asked each of us who we were selecting and why. When it came my turn, I said quickly and without any hesitation, Martin Luther King Jr. I still remember the look I received from my professor.
I had read the “I Have a Dream” speech many times. I hated to read, yet when something held my attention, I would read and reread it. This was one of those pieces.
Yes, the I have a dream that one day … was a catching phrase to me then, and now. Yet, it was the images that those words brought forward that kept me rereading it. We had family friends who were Black. They came to our house; we went to theirs. I absolutely loved going to Dixie’s house! As a child I loved rolling down the red clay hill that her house stood on. As a got older, it was her fried apple pies that I looked forward to. It was under the pine trees with the Harris children that I learned the words to “Momma Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird”.
So, the phrases like: I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character … one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers … I lived every single day never wondering or knowing that Black children and white children were different in the way lives were lived. I could not tell it by the clothes we all wore, or the cars our parent’s drove or even the houses where we lived.
Yes, I saw the images and stories on television of the hate and injustice taking place, I was not blind to that. Yet, we talked about it around the dinner table. As a youth, we (Black and white students) talked about it at school and when we were together just hanging out.
Yes, I have a dream that one day the words Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke will become a reality. I go back to our scripture from Isaiah, A voice is crying out. Are we crying out? Are we the people who will make a level highway? Are we the people who will take down the mountain and hill that divides us as God’s children? Oh, how I have a dream that we are the movement to make those differences.
I absolutely love living the dream today! The ministry of Disaster Response allows me and our great volunteers to be the people that levels the highways and take down the mountains and hills. Our volunteers never questioned why we worked in one certain neighborhood in Freemont following the flood. We learned a little Spanish and worked on those homes as they were our own, shared materials with homeowners, and worked beside them to repair their homes.
Yes, I have a dream that one day we the people of the Great Plains Conference will embrace, in Dr. King’s words: Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God’s children.
Yes, I have the same dream …
I want to hear from you: send me an email and let me know how your church is living the dream? I want to know how you, as an individual is living the dream! Communities that have lived the oppression, how are you overcoming and making the dream alive? Tell me the stories of healing and reconciliation!
--Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
God of all creation, Father of all people, make straight the way of the crooked, smooth the plains that are rough. May the glory of the Lord be revealed in me. May the glory of the Lord be revealed in all of us. Amen.
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