We Shall Overcome – February 12, 2018

Last month we honored the life of a great hero. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died striving to make the world a place where every person matters and has a place. This month our focus is Black History, Black Future. We remember the struggle that so many African-Americans have endured throughout our nation’s history and focus on what we can all do together to create a world where love, unity and equality are embraced.

About two years ago, I was playing the organ for a church service in which “O for a World” was the closing hymn. I remember being so moved by the message of the song. It captures so perfectly the dream of Dr. King and the true mission of Christianity.

O for a world where everyone
Respects each other’s ways
Where love is lived and all is done
With justice and with praise.

O for a world where goods are shared
And misery relieved,
Where truth is spoken, children spared,
Equality achieved.

We welcome one world family
And struggle with each choice
That opens us to unity
And gives our vision voice.

The poor are rich, the weak are strong,
The foolish ones are wise.
Tell all who mourn: Outcasts belong,
Who perishes will rise.

O for a world preparing for
God’s glorious reign of peace,
Where time and tears will be no more,
And all but love will cease.

The whole message is summed up in the last line: All but love will cease. How different our world would be if that were consistently lived out.

I am currently writing this post while headed to the San Francisco airport. I had the privilege of being accompanist/chaperone for Vocare’s trip to serve and sing at St. Martin’s Deporres House of Hospitality and worship with Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church. We had an amazing time here and met many wonderful people. Just now, several of the girls in the van started singing one of the songs they sang this weekend. The song includes the line “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Their impromptu van performance could not have been more perfectly timed!

Love. That is the Christian mission. Jesus himself told us as much. Yet we so often forget to simply love. Our world is riddled with people who would rather judge, criticize and hate. Sometimes a world where love reigns and all is peace seems impossible, and it is easy to want to give up. But this Sunday, the offertory song is one that keeps the spark of hope ignited. “We Shall Overcome” is a song that has long been associated with the Civil Rights movement. The words to this song continue to provide a beacon in a world that is still so full of darkness. Through love, we shall overcome. We shall live in peace. We’ll walk hand in hand, and we are not afraid because God will see us though!

-Shelton