There is a deep affinity between Rev. Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and the annual observance of Holy Week.
They are, of course, tied by the coincidence of time. The act of nonviolent resistance that landed Rev. Dr. King in the letter’s eponymous jail occurred on Good Friday. He spent that following Easter Sunday alone in an unlit, unfurnished cell. It was only on Monday that he was transferred to a new cell where he wrote the letter’s 7,000 words on scraps of paper and in the margins of newspapers.
The finished document is nothing short of a gospel tailor-made for our time: called into being by King the prophet, grounded in God by King the theologian, and shaped by King the servant of Justice.
What makes the letter so prescient at Holy Week is not only the calendar date, but also the content. Like the Gospel, it affirms our mutuality and shared fate. It affirms our part, no matter how small, in shaping the Kin-dom of God – the Beloved Community. It asks us to reflect on our motives and our beliefs, and to challenge our blind acceptance of the way things are. And, above all, it is steeped in love – a love that is unconditional, that is sanctioned by God and is the true calling card of the Gospel.
looking out the north facing window of the meetinghouse on the gardens [1.8.2016]
Bullet Journal Style Thoughts from 1.8.2017
- Wholeness is the symbol that embraces every last bit of our brokenness.
- First we must minister with the body of Christ in its localized incarnation so that we may reach out authentically to its global formation.
- Feeling opposition to a thingI am called to do. What is my vocation, and how can I better reveal it in my life?
is an opportunity for greater discernment in recognizing what it is
- How are my shortcomings better informing my gifts? If I am quick to anger over a certain phenomenon, how can I use that discomfort to create a space for a larger sense of equanimity?
Florida Scott-Maxwell’s writing is alive with a kind of ecstatic experience – living in the moment with a relentless presence while holding the gaze on the eternal. I love this book.
“Always, through everything, I try to straighten my spine, or my soul. They both ought to be upright I feel, for pride, for style, for reality’s sake, but both tend to bend as under a weight that has been carried for a long time. I try to lighten my burden by knowing it, I try to walk lightly, and sometimes I do, for sometimes I feel both light and proud. At other times I am bent, bent.”