"Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Here I stand!"
Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. were once nobodies. Nobodies who one day said, "Basta! Enough!" Nobodies who did nothing more than take a stand because they saw something wasn't right. They began to declare publicly what many knew but were afraid to address. They had a sense that God was at hand and God was with them. They knew the injustices, the bondages of the people they loved, and that the reputation of the God they loved was at stake. They did the only thing they could; they took a stand against the ruling kingdoms of their world.
They understood it was not about the people--flesh and blood--but that something happens when the controlling systems of the day try to corral the people into a life-destroying status quo. What history has proven when people take a stand is that the systems will raise their ugly heads. Change becomes the catalyst for a dangerous, life-altering confrontation. And change plays for keeps. It takes no prisoners.
Luther, King, and those who stood with them were not foolish men. They weighed the cost and determined they could not continue life and remain silent. They saw, and because of what they saw they took a stand. They saw people, the poor and the poor in spirit alike, in bondage. And they persevered through the darkest days of popular opinion against them, which, in both cases, were fueled by the established doctrines of the Church.
Luther and King loved the Church, but they loved the Father of the people of the Church even more. So they could no longer stay silent. They loved enough to say what was wrong. They had to speak out against the systems that promised freedom and then enslaved. They had to offer a solution. First, a spiritual solution with the "how then should we live?" solutions to follow. They decried what was being done to the people in the name of Jesus, in the name of God the Father as wrong!
The Silent Minority
No doubt, they too heard the taunts of "Who do you think you are? What special grace do you have? How do you know you are right?" equally by their peers, friends, and opposing factions. And it wasn't like everything was wrong. There was just enough of the correct foundational belief systems in place that made it all look right but brought death to the people instead. The systems of religion, commerce and politics came together to discredit and attempt to shut them down.
Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. fought through because it mattered. They risked all, going against the prevailing values, opinions and beliefs of the Church. They saw that something was terribly wrong. The systems of man had a tight reign on the freedom of men and exercised it as it saw fit for its own well-being. They saw the poor and the poor in spirit were being systematically imprisoned into the systems. Too many people were in slavery.
For Luther, one little word--faith--started a reformation. One action--a piece of paper listing the wrongs of the Church nailed to a door--declared the time had come. He was asked if he couldn't focus on the good about the Church and forget about the wrong. He answered with a hammer and a nail and ninety-five things gone horribly wrong with the established Church. It started another movement, a reformation, or perhaps it was a revolution.
And it was costly, very costly. It's always costly to go first with change; to say something is wrong with what you have given your all to. The Book says no one wants the new, believing the old is better. That's easy to see 500 years later, but at the time few wanted to lead this battle.
Today, it matters to me and a lot of others that the losers of life, the disenfranchised, and the disgraced hear about the Kingdom of God and all that it offers. It's no longer enough to promise people heaven with a prayer or hell without one. It's no longer enough to base all of Christianity on a code of morality with no hope if one fails.
It matters that one can be set free from the bondage of pleasing man, believing he is pleasing God. It matters that we have little awe for the loving God who sent the Son to do only the Father's will and represent His Kingdom.
It matters that the poor and the poor in spirit, especially those deemed as cast-offs by the systems, know that they are deeply, deeply loved by God but are instead taught they are hated because of their failures or beliefs that are contrary to accepted norms of religion.
It matters that the lonely find this King, find His Kingdom, and experientially receive His promised, eternal Seed; that they are transformed at such a depth that the whole neighborhood wants to know what happened when they see love coming from every pore of their flesh.
It matters that the supernatural be restored to the body of believers and that we quit the nonsense of presenting God as suddenly taking away all that is supernatural. It matters that our youth have to watch a Hollywood production to see the supernatural at work instead of finding it in the Church, the rightful heir of the supernatural, relational Father and Son.
It matters that we give the Holy Spirit permission to move supernaturally in our lives and in our midst; that we give control back to God to be God, Jesus to be Jesus, and Holy Spirit to be Holy Spirit.
It matters that Christianity has been enveloped as a political party of conservative non-sinners and any who do not submit to the political agenda are deemed anti-Christ, anti God; and that we dismiss people we disagree with by a wave of the hand, and losers need not apply.
It matters that doctrine has somehow become more important than relationship; it matters that the biblical stories of God's immense, unconditional love for losers are instead twisted to condemn the people they were designed to give life to.
It matters that a King loved, forgave and continued to forgive on His way to establishing a Kingdom founded on love and entered through faith by grace; and that faith expresses itself through love instead of an angry God.
It matters that our lives begin to end the day we become silent because we fear man and his shaming words more than the Creator of man.
It matters that we each have the ability to honestly, unashamedly tell our stories and walk out our personal journeys seeking home, seeking a Kingdom, and seeking God.
It just matters!
David VanCronkhite firstname.lastname@example.org