A Call to Join the Race


Wendy Vander Hart

12/6/2017

It was 4:45 PM on a Friday afternoon and I was with my running friends at Slumbrew Brewing Company in Somerville. They were talking about one of their favorite 5K races coming up that weekend. I casually remarked that I would love to run a 5K sometime since I walk a 5K to start my day on a daily basis. They exclaimed, you could do this one!  The deadline to sign-up is 5 PM! Maybe it was the first flight of beer that influenced me, but I whipped out my phone, went on the website and signed up.  It was one of those god awful steamy Sunday mornings in late August but I ran and finished the race in what my friends exclaimed was an impressive time for a first time runner. Sometimes the immediacy of the opportunity is what is needed to get something done.
 
There is a race to be run right now and it is not the short distance of a 5K. On December 4, 2017, a campaign was launched building on a campaign of Saint Martin Luther King Jr. It is the Poor Peoples Campaign.  This race is marathon and the deadline to sign up for it is ongoing but equally urgent.
 
Some of our leaders and communities are at different points on the course but we who claim Christian Faith are called to run ONE race – To live the love and justice of Jesus.
 
There are many entry points to live the love and justice of Jesus in the Poor Peoples Campaign. The purpose of the campaign will strategically connect and grow different struggles and lift up and deepen the leadership of those most affected to transform the political, economic and moral structures of our society. The Campaign will push forward concrete demands, build unity across lines of division, and draw on art, music, and religious traditions to challenge the dominant narrative that blames poor people for poverty.
 
Our Judeo-Christian faith has provided us the right training to sign up to run.  Our churches, leaders and clergy in all settings of ministry have what we need to join this race. We have communities with which we can go deeper, we have new partnerships to seek, we have passions and faith to tap.
 
Our collective clout as the largest Protestant denomination in Massachusetts can make a difference. Our clarity about who leads us in this race and how his resurrection love inspires us to respond can make a difference.  Our covenants and partnerships can sustain us for the marathon. Will you sign up?
 
There are ways to prepare and ways to jump in. Here are three things you could do right now:

  • Add the Poor Peoples Campaign to your prayer time; steep this movement in deep reflective prayer.
     
  • Find your own individual starting line (there is an action pledge card!)
     
  • Wonder and plan a collective first step with the community and partnerships with which your church or ministry setting is connected – you might have a relationship with a local Tenants Association, a homeless shelter, a feeding program a social justice agency.  Take the resources the Campaign is offering to engage these communities to build deeper relationships and give those who deserve a voice an audience to help amplify their stories.
As I think about this marathon I appreciate the words we find in Hebrews 12, “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”  The qualifier, “with perseverance,” is the most important part of this verse. Let’s commit to the perseverance this race demands.  Unlike my 5K there is no medal waiting for us at the finish line. Instead we may be able to take a step closer to God’s kingdom here on earth –  what could be a better prize?



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