I was privileged to attend the first in a series of community building evenings at Brentwood United Methodist Church and grateful my friend Morgan Stafford agreed to attend with me! These evenings, designated as “Refuel” are aptly named! Starting with dinner at a round table……new friends, old friends….afforded an opportunity for sharing a meal and sharing an experience. I am convinced God loves to hear our stories!
Pastor Allison Gossett set the evening’s tone…and challenge…..by reminding us of Jeremiah’s words…..his struggles…..his call….his obedience! So there comes the first implied challenge…..go home and reacquaint yourself with this man of God! So I did. As Allison so well articulated, this guy had a tough time! But he kept trying! My study Bible includes these words in the introduction to Jeremiah: “Regardless of opposition and personal cost, Jeremiah courageosly and faithfully proclaimed the word of God.”
Enter Dr. Rip Patton, a Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950’s, 1960’s. I have been honored to hear Dr Patton before when he participated in a previous series at our church. There are simply no words to aptly describe this humble and faithful man! As we were asked to consider how we live into our faith, we hear how he chose to do that very thing. “Chose” may not be at all accurate…..like Jeremiah he was called and couldn’t say no! He didn’t say no! He lived into his faith, and still does, by engaging to change the fabric of society using non violent discourse and strategic organizing…..but all based on the teachings of Jesus. He brings this history to life. He, too, “courageously and faithfully proclaimed the word of God.”
As I walked to my car, I glanced up……to the cross that reaches high in the sky atop our church building. I could only wonder what it calls the rest of us to do….to make tomorrow different.