July 31, 2020
Dear Lake B Family and Friends,
Perhaps some of you spent time this past week (as I did) viewing the many memorials honoring the life and service of Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
Congressman Lewis spent his entire adult life (and really since he was about 15) answering the call of God to be about the work of reconciliation and peace in this country. The story of his life is well documented; if you are not familiar with it, I urge you to learn about his life.
Representative Lewis’ lifelong fight for equality, for the right to vote, the right to love, the right of all people to have dignity and liberty as given to us by God, is powerful and inspiring. I did not know him and I wish I did. Oh, how I wish I did. But I know this: my life is different because of his tireless work. Our country is better because of his prophetic voice of truth. The Church is gifted with his example of faithful discipleship that moves outside of its four walls and contributes to making the Beloved Community real. Rep. Lewis’ life embodied a love that rejoices with the truth; a love that hopes and endures all things; a love that never fails.
In that way, he is just like us - or we are just like him. We are sojourners together in our walk of faith. We are siblings. Our walk may look different from his, BUT the call to discipleship is not different. It is the same. Rep. Lewis penned a letter (printed in the NY Times) to be read on the day of his final memorial service. Here is an excerpt from that letter – a powerful benediction and word of blessing he gave to all of us:
“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and to stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring. When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”
To reach the end of one’s life and to be able to say, “I have done all I can to demonstrate the way of peace and love…” is a worthy endeavor, is it not?
In the spirit of John Lewis’ life, may we each find the highest calling of our own hearts, trusting that God will give us the courage to follow where it leads. May he rest now in eternal peace.
These are difficult times. Thank you for all the ways you continue to extend the love of God to those around you even though you yourselves may be feeling stretched – emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, spiritually. May we all experience God’s power being made perfect - not in our strength, but in our weakness.
In God’s sufficient grace,