“As you prepare to march, ” Dr. Martin Luther King once wrote, “meditate on the life and teaching of Jesus.” This was the title of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon as he kicked off the national conference on race at this year’s Trinity Institute in New York last night.
This annual meeting was once known as a kind of national “clergy conference” for The Episcopal Church, held at the historic Trinity Church, Wall Street. For years now, it has morphed into a nation-wide gathering with streaming down-links in Episcopal churches all across the country.
The 2016 theme is “Listen…For a Change” and is bringing together as speakers… writers, professors, activists and clergy to challenge the church to go even deeper in addressing the sin of racism, this nation’s “original sin.” Topics will include:
What is Race, Anyway?
A People’s History of Race
Soul Searching in a Culture of Control
Listen for a Change
What we can do together
In Michael Curry’s opening sermon he sought, as he always does, to make sure we remember that we are in this fight, not just as social workers and activists, but as followers of what he likes to call “the Jesus Movement.” And so, the citation of Dr. King’s number one “rule of life” imparted to his followers — “As you prepare to march, meditate on the life and teaching of Jesus.”
My guess is, that was an important point to make when addressed by King to his band of civil rights campaigners. If they were to carry out his non-violent approach, they would need to remind themselves of, and be deeply grounded in, “the life and teaching of Jesus.” It was from that life and those teachings that they would draw their extraordinary courage and strength.
Another guess is, Episcopalians at this conference are pretty good at “meditating on the life and teaching of Jesus.”
My question is, are we prepared…to march?