Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Way of the Cross-2008: Station Two

I was fortunate enough to discover the 20th Annual Walk for Justice while I was in Springfield Illinois. The group was inter-denominational. The Stations were landmarks in downtown Springfield that could connect current events to Jesus today. I will review each station one at a time.

Station Two was across the street from the Capitol Building and in front of the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. I felt honored that I was the reader at this station.

Station Two: Jesus carries his cross.

We stand before this well know countenance, the striding statue of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. As a young minister he was drawn to a position he did not necessarily want to be: early on he was placed in the role of leadership. Many looked up to him. Some thought of him as a holy man. As he progressed from seeking justice for African Americans in the country- to identifying was as the ultimate form of hatred- in a world in need of love, the number of his detractors grew. Finally his life was taken by an assassin’s bullet.

So much like the life of Jesus! Martin was called to bear a cross, and he bore it until death. Members of the African-American and white members of the Springfield community bore the cross during the race riot of 1908. The riots were spared by the transfer of two African-American prisoners out of the city jail by the county sheriff, because the white crowd wanted to take matters into their own hands. Buy the end of the riot, 40 homes and 24 businesses were destroyed and seven citizens killed.

The year 2008, the hundredth anniversary of the race riots has been proclaimed a “Year of Reconciliation” by the Springfield Ministerial Alliance. As we continue through this year of reconciliation, we join with God’s people in prayer on the first Sunday of each month…

If we expect warring factions throughout the world will someday find peace through reconciliation and forgiveness, so must we in our own community examine our hearts, call for reconciliation and seek forgiveness for injustices brought to bear on our beloved family, our brothers and sisters of color.

Creator of love, call forth the compassion deep within us to counteract our racism, denied by logic, instilled by our culture, and reinforced by our institutions. Grant us the courage to stand as converts to your love, as we admit to the racism within us and bring witness to your gift of equality for all.

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