Garden Time April 2017

Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,

 

♫ He is Lord, He is Lord,

He is risen from the dead and He is Lord;

Ev’ry knee shall bow, ev’ry tongue confess 

That Jesus Christ is Lord! ♫

 

Above is an old hymn that we used to sing in the church that I was raised in Albany, New York. That song has stayed with me down through the years because of its simplicity in its attestation of our faith. Christ has risen from the dead and Christ is Lord! As we embark upon summiting the ecclesiastical mountaintop of our faith this month, I am excited to share the Good News of heaven’s hero and earth’s emancipator with you all. I invite your attendance at our services this month (including our Maundy Thursday evening service April 13, 2017 at 7:30pm), solicit your prayers for our congregation and community, ask for your financial support of our mission and ministry at Church-in-the-Garden (http://www.churchinthegarden.org/support/), and encourage you to meditate on this pithy and powerful hymn that celebrates our faith. 

 Theologically, March was a rewarding month for us. We focused our teaching and preaching on sin, tests, and trials, while identifying and dealing with the devil. The reality of sin, the accuser of God, Christ, and the tests and temptations that we all have to endure and are subjected to, is something that many of us woefully deny and dismiss. As we move forward this month in celebrating our risen Savior, I hope that the messages of the past month will inform and gird us in our theologically temerity as we announce salvation for the world!

 Now more than ever, there needs to be boldness in our faith. Last month I wrote that I had been nominated to be inducted into the Morehouse Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers. In just receiving the news I was deeply humbled, blessed, and quite frankly amazed. As I toured the chapel and learned of its rich history and legacy, then being inducted with so many distinguished and profound people who are charged with promoting peace, striving for justice, and inspiring others to continue the work of Dr. King (in a world that needs it more than ever), I was truly moved and my resolve in the message of Christ and its application in this world was more fervently reinforced. The message of fellow inductee and induction speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber II to those assembled, from Acts 2, “America Needs a Political Pentecost” hit home for me and I suspect many of the inductees. 

Indeed, the message of the Gospels is not Democratic or Republican, left or right, liberal or conservative. It is, however, a call to the heart, the head, and the body to work for what the Bible says so much about: Care and concern for the poor, justice, love, and mercy; than what it says so little about that is most often quoted, misunderstood, and wrongly interpreted: sexuality, abortion, and marriage! 

Dr. Barber is prophetically prescient in his analysis for what lies ahead and what is needed moving forward. I hope to work more closely in this movement to help us morally, ethically, and spiritually defeat this persistent type of evil and morally bankrupting policies that meet not the needs of society’s least and left out. Rather, it keeps discrimination, bias, and prejudice as the modus operandi of our culture and country. All the while smoothly concealing and neatly wrapping its inherent intent around the many layers of political slogans, catch-phrases, and fear tactics that would hastily return a diverse and multi-cultural country to its homogenous so-called halcyon past. Which, incidentally, has never been great save for those who profited from the bigotry, greed, prejudice, and overall depravity systemically and institutionally enacted through laws, rules, codes, and norms. History shows that this came at the tragic expense of denying human dignity, basic rights, and personhood to so many in this country. In short, America’s historical spiritual, moral, and ethical decay still persists in our society today and will continue to advance if we do not take action.

This is the battle that we are fighting holistically when we say that Christ Is Risen! These are the actionable items that God’s word insists we continue to promote and enforce: our Micah 6:8 marching orders! This is what the Church-in-the-Garden and its pastor will consistently encourage: The full and total work of Christ in our lives to help usher in the love of God and a morally, ethically, and spiritually aware culture that stamps out hatred, discrimination, and promotes policies that break down structures and institutions that seek to do harm to the masses for the sake of the few.

 Christ is risen so that we may be change-makers in this world! Join us in this revolution of radical love of God for the betterment of humanity! Thank God for the Resurrection!

 

♫He is risen from the dead and He is Lord;

Ev’ry knee shall bow, ev’ry tongue confess 

That Jesus Christ is Lord! ♫

 

Blessings Aplenty,

 

Pastor Earl Y. Thorpe Jr.