My friend and former youth ministry co-intern (my first job out of college) had an opportunity to meet Peter Storey, a white preacher from South Africa who called the church to stand against racism and apartheid, at whatever cost to him and to God’s people. Storey was also Nelson Mandela’s chaplain. My friend sent me an autograph from the encounter, and I love the timing (and am grateful for the gift).
From With God in the Crucible, “Christ’s Peacemakers:”
It is said of the Japanese saint Toyohiko Kagawa that the sermon he preached most often was one of utter simplicity: “God is love,” he used to say, standing on street corners, “God is love, like Jesus.”
– For Jesus, there could be no secret plotting and maneuvering to achieve his aims;
– For Jesus, the end never justified the means;
– For Jesus, there could be no use of evil to overcome evil.
Though his agenda was to save a whole world, he would rather fail than lose his integrity. “What is the profit for a man who gains the whole world at the price of his soul?”
We must be like Jesus. We must be transparent people. We must be what we believe.
When he was strengthening his own peacemakers to face those who willed them harm, Martin Luther King, Jr. called for the same congruence of profession and practice, the same transparency of heart:
“Love must be your regulating ideal. Once again we must hear the words of Jesus echoing across the centuries: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.’ If we fail to do this our protest will end up as a meaningless drama on the stage of history, and its memory will be shrouded with the ugly garments of shame…. If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, … the historians will… say, ‘There lived a great people – a black people – who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.'”
We must be what we believe.
Amen. Thanks again, Kelli. I’m honored to have it.