Today, 100 students and faculty from Belhaven University converged on We Will Go for a Martin Luther King Day time of service. Jim and I talked to them about dreams...dreams that have turned into nightmares and dreams that God is planting in their lives. We encouraged them to turn those broken dreams over to God and not to let anything hold them back from following the dreams that He wants them to live out.
After a wonderful time of sharing, worship, scripture, and prayer in the pavilion, we split up into 10 different groups. Travis and Jim's group picked up trash and limbs in an abandoned lot. Betsie's group did the same on a square adjacent to Farish Street. Patrick helped fellow missionary Levi deliver wood to a man whose only source of heat is a wood burning heater. David spread gravel and cleaned up a lot. Laura Grace worked in the clothing ministry sorting clothes and organizing it better. Merry and I were assigned to lead a group packing lunches for hungry neighbors who come to our door. We finished quickly enough to allow us to walk over, praying along the way, and show them Base 2 before heading to Church Street.
Merry had the idea of taking chalk and writing on the sidewalks and street scripture verses, pictures, and words of life. We wrote out dreams that we have for our city --- things like life, salvation, and love.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that one day, black and white people would be able to live together in harmony. That children of different races and classes could play together. That regardless of a person's skin, they would have the equal opportunity to live lives of freedom. Whether he said it in these exact words or not, he dreamed that one day each person could pursue their own dreams.
I talked with the girls on my team about what Dr. King wanted for his people and his nation and though we agreed that he would be glad about much of the changes that have occurred, he'd be saddened by other things. He would smile to see us, a mixed group praying together and working together, but his heart would hurt to see so many still trapped in poverty and despair.
But more than Dr. King's heart hurting, God's heart hurts. He wants the people that He has created to walk in victory and wholeness. He wants them to live in peace and freedom. He wants children to be able to ride their bikes down the street and play in vacant lots without fear. He wants the old to be able to sleep at night without worries. He wants husbands to love their wives forever. He wants people only controlled by His spirit, not the drugs and alcohol that hold so many captive in our neighborhood.
But it isn't just enough to dream of what this city should look like. And it isn't just enough to hope the government or even a lot of nice people to be able to bring about true and lasting change.
What this city, our nation, the world needs, is God.
That sounds really simply because it really is simple.
Only the power of God --- His love, His redemption, His power, His provision, His presence --- can bring true life back to this city.
And He wants to, He chooses to use us, His church.
Today, my group prayed that the churches of Jackson would become the true church of Christ. That we'd really become the hands and feet of our Master. That we'd quit playing religious games and think that being a Christian was only about following rules and being "good". We prayed that we Christians would really let the Spirit of God live in and through us so that we bring His light into dark places. That we would be doing the things that Jesus calls us to do.
What about you? If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, are you really following Him? Are you listening to His voice and hearing those dreams, those plans, He wants you to be a part of? And then are you doing them?
Let's make these dreams for our families, our city, our nation, and our world become a reality.
We can...with Him.
Only, only, only with Him and by Him and through Him.
I have a dream.