Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Does Your Faith Demand?


Faith demanded that three women who were tired of the status quo, ban together to make a call to action for Black people from this call the national #BlackLivesMatter movement began. That same Faith demanded that 7 other women take a dramatuc stand with only faith and a card board sign between them and oncoming trafic on Los Angeles' Main steet. There they stood with raised fist and faith in their hearts for victory in righteous cause, the survival of Black lives. These women capture the spirit, courage and determination of the #blacklivesmatter movement. 

I made this observation of the nobel heart of a champion when I took some time to walk amoung them. This Sunday I was invited to observe the situation and see if there was any thing that I could do the include the clergy in their struggle. So I began a while prayer walk around BlackLivesMattter--LA. (BLMLA)encampment. I was praying to discern what my faith in a God who stands with the oppressed, the widows and orphans. 

At the request of the leadership of Los Angeles Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, I responded to the call of the BLMLA to be and coordinate and spiritual presence in the camp. (It was painfully obvious that there were no ministers, pastors, rabbi nor Imans in the midst to comfor and encoure the activist.) It was not long before God answered my prayer because I took the first step of faith by responding to the call God gave me a purpose. My purpose is the use my gifts, common experience and Community Development resources to connect spiritual leaders and proactive pastors with the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. The first thing I decided to do was to lead by example so the very next day, I got up early in the morning and prepared myself to represent God consciousness and offer the morning invocation and word of inspiration to the participants. I put on my Minister Collard shirt. (for dramatic effect) and to be an obvious spiritual leaders presence.

While there I could not help but think of  the biblical account of the Prophet Deborah and the military leader Barak of the ancient Hebrew Bible.

There seems to be many parallels between this account and the Black Lives Matter movement. The people were tired of being oppressed and they decided to take a stand by first crying out to God for assistance and deliverance.

I was reminded of this ancient story when I saw several young women boldly and courageously walk in the middle of Main Street in downtown Los Angeles without police or any other protection and actually stop traffic in order for their voice and unity may be heard and manifest.

This account can be found in the fourth chapter of the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible. What I find fascinating is that when the prophet Deborah, who is the spiritual leader of that community, called for the military man, Barak to go forth and fight for the deliverance of his people from governmental oppression and enforced military measures. Barak said he would not go to fight the system unless Deborah the woman of God, of Courage, of personal strength and spiritual power would go with him.

Deborah said she would go with him into battle. However because of his cowardice approach to this matter Deborah said that he would not get the glory for this victory.

As the story progressed Deborah goes into battle with Barak, the battle was fierce but victory was in sight. The military leader and his army who came to destroy Deborah and her people were defeated by the formerly oppressed people. The chief of the opposing force jumped down from his chariot and began running for his life. He ran into the tent of a mighty woman of God for comfort and protection and something to drink. He asked for water and she gave him warm milk as he fell asleep with the Sweet Taste of milk in his mouth sister Jael ended his life in that moment.

I do not share this account to promote violence of any kind, what stands out to me in this account like our present challenge the men were strangely missing. The women took up faith and courage with the support of all who would stand with them. They won a victory against the system of oppression in her day. Two courageous sisters, Deborah and Jael, walked past fear in faith and decided that they would take the risk of even their lives.I see the same type of fire passion and determination in the women of the black lives matter movement today. They have said to themselves enough is enough. These bold sisters responded to the demand of faith in God and their people to declare that Black Lives Matter, the lives of their husbands, brothers, sons, nephews and sisters matter to them. They could no longer remain silent and inactive. The women of BLM have decided to stand up. I believe people of faith can learn from the Women of BLM. They can learn how to get up off their praying knees and become the answer to their own prayers. The women of BLM are working out their beliefs in the practical application of their faith and beliefs in their daily affairs.

Here is where we can a draw a principal. When faced with a challenge, I recommend asking yourself, "What can I do during this trying time?", "What does my faith in God demand of me in this hour?"

In the Christian Bible, in the letter of James he asked the question, "What good is it my brothers and sisters if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?" Can such Faith save them? James goes on to make the declaration "Faith by itself if it's not accompanied by action is dead."

Therefore, I say that we must search our heart and do a deep soul search and ask ourselves,  "What is God requiring of me? Where can we get involved? How can we use our God given gifts and talents for the survival of and people? God has given me in service and partnership with the  participants of the Black Lives Matter movement? What is your faith in God demanding that you to do in this hour?"

Today, seek God for direction and guidance through prayer and meditation. Then rise up to be used by God to live out your destiny and be the answer to your own prayer. What you may discover is that you were born for such a time as this! God has sent you into this world to make a difference for all Humanity. Let's go! Together we win! If God for us, Who can be against us? Remember God always stands with the oppressed, the orphans, the widows, and you and me. Keep going with clean hands and a pure heart!.