Think on These Things
Reverend Frank I. Williams
Are you ready for the Word!
“But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Amos 5:24 During Black History Month, we are reminded that “liberty and justice for all” isn’t free. It cost men and women the ultimate sacrifice. In our current political climate, we are further reminded how fragile liberties are, and how essential it is to have working systems of accountability and the separation of powers. On a grassroots level, we have an obligation to continue this journey toward “a more perfect union.” A journey that will not be complete in this country until all people can live without the violent grip of racial prejudice, the poisonous produce of ethnic profiling, the toxic atmosphere of political division, and the utter corruption of socioeconomic discrimination.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” The prophet Amos called his nation to action, informing them, and thus informing us, that justice and righteousness are inextricably bound together. No longer should our streets flow with the blood of the innocent and the disenfranchised. Instead, our streets must flow with the water of justice and the river of righteousness. But how does this happen? The Old Testament prophet Micah states, “O man…, what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Using Micah’s philosophy as a template, I invite you to consider this Divine requirement.
To do justice begins with the understanding that justice is for everyone. It is not merely a man-made right, but a Divine privilege that is endowed upon each human being. Doing justice must be free from the contaminants of political agendas, personal preferences, and the indignity of systemic corruption. There is sufficient evidence to support claims that we are still fighting deeply rooted complexion based discrimination. This form of injustice is dying a slow death. Some may even argue that it will never completely die. None-the-less there must be continued efforts to eradicate its toxic flow from the bloodstream of this nation. Indeed, it is the will of God that justice flows down like water – washing over all of our communities, those of African and those of European descent, those of different nationalities and those of different social and economic standing. Until black persons and white persons, and those from all backgrounds can have access to a fair and balanced judicial system that judges based on evidence of a legal violation, without targeting certain people groups over others, we will never possess the promised land that Dr. King envisioned.
However, doing justly is not enough. We must also love mercy. Loving mercy is not blind forgiveness, or ill-informed exonerations. To love mercy speaks of the intent of the heart. To love mercy is to cultivate a heart of informed compassion, where by we are encouraged to operate from a perspective of mercy not vengeance. The application of the law is then driven by the purity of justice, and not by a twisted fury for revenge and self-righteousness. The benevolence of mercy is instructive – aiding our systems of justice in creating a more rehabilitative approach to the administering of justice and not only a punitive approach. Finally, we are told to “walk humbly with your God.” Humility is the only reasonable quality to exhibit before God. Anything else carries the potential to ignite or nurture our pride. The good in us must settle down and behave itself so as not to embarrass us with illusions that we could somehow earn the privilege of “walking” with God. The evil in us must bow and be chastised into realizing that before God even our liberties and our most ambitious quests to actualize self must submit to God’s perspectives and expectations. This is an invitation by God that we humbly respond to, and not a human initiative where our determinations are central. Functioning humbly creates an internal environment that grants God easier access to our will and potentially increases our trustworthiness in His sight. So, how does this translate into “letting justice run down like water”? In submitting our disposition to God’s way, it enables us to reflect both His justice and His righteousness in our quest for change. We allow a flow of justice that is propelled by a Force beyond our own voices. In doing so we facilitate Divine intervention in human processes. Dr. King said it best in his speech to “Where Do We Go From Here,” delivered to the SCLC in 1967, “I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”
Let us all strive to be agents of God’s light in small and large ways. When mercy and humility fill our heart, then we can see clearly enough to administer justice for all people – we light up the darkness. Until next time, walk good my friends and think on these things.
BY JAMES Washington
In the lives of all Christians, there is an inextricably link between faith and death. Death, in this regard, holds a particularly special place. Understandably, one must die to this world and be reborn spiritually to the next. As Christians we accept the reality that Jesus actually overcame death. He died physically on the cross and rose again in order for us to access eternal life as a true gift of the Father. You see this whole life death life thing can be confusing and, at times, certainly overwhelming, which is where faith comes in. Real faith requires an understanding that should affect your and my behavior. Life and death are part of a process, elements essential to spiritual eternity. For those without faith the concept can seem a bit implausible. For those of us who claim faith in the reality of Jesus Christ, our facts are sometimes based, not on what we see, touch and understand. To the believer, life exists on many different levels. Death by itself is neither the end nor the beginning of anything. Life and death are the continuation of an existence that has always been here. Our living is shall we say a temporary form of eternal life. Faith, which comes upon each and every one of us at different times and in different ways, demands an intellectual, as well as a spiritual enlightenment, a leap of faith. If you believe in electricity, you believe when you turn a light switch on in the room you’re in, it will become illuminated. You act accordingly. If you don’t believe in electricity, light switches and light bulbs have a very different meaning for you. If you believe in Jesus Christ, your view of death is totally different from someone who doesn’t. That belief doesn’t make the transition from the physical realm any easier because death is still an unknown adventure. I bring this up because I am now at an age where I’m as likely to hear about the death of someone younger than me as I am someone older. I must say it has given me pause to ponder my own mortality in the face of my faith, which should be embracing my own mortality. We’re supposed to walk by faith and not by sight; to do so, demands that we accept a perspective which acknowledges a yet to be experienced consciousness that is the foundation of the life and death and life of Jesus Christ. The specter of my death cannot deter me from meeting each day, each person, each situation and circumstance anew and refreshed with the opportunity to experience my life again and again. I must continue my journey anew each and every day. I must accept my faith anew each and every day. What we go through everyday, including the pain and suffering as well as the joy and happiness is essential to the eternal cycle of life. Through faith, Christians believe all things are possible because God is certainly capable of accomplishing anything. That includes overcoming death. That includes our own immortality with Him. Hence, death is God’s business as is life. Faith allows us to put it all in His hands. Therefore, my own death like those of my loved ones is but one step closer to God. In many cultures, worldly death is looked upon as a cause for celebration. This is, or certainly should be, the same with Christians. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you the devil will put some of you in prison to test you and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt at all by the second death.”
Revelation 2:10-11. May God bless and keep you always.
Soul Vibrations Corner
YOUR ASTROLOGICAL FORECAST
You know it is impossible to accomplish anything if you try to do it alone. Bring your leadership qualities to the surface & help organize your mutual efforts. Arguments with family or friends may really set you off. Try hard not to instigate unnecessary friction with anyone. It would be best for you to stay put & avoid conversations that are controversial to start with. Follow your basic instincts & you’ll do very well. Exercise your rights & don’t fear the unknown. Discovery must become your passion. LUCKY NUMBERS: 32,33,38,45,46,49
An intense conversation could be important to you. Reevaluate your past, try to bring out your best qualities, set aside your insecurities. Communications & understanding will increase greatly. Plan outings with family or friends with fun filled conversation. Your knowledge & good sense will help more than you expect. Competition could help your team, especially if you approach it in a positive manner. The goal is not to beat the other person, but only to motivate one another. Objectivity is needed for you to make the best decision. The better choice should become very clear to you. LUCKY NUMBERS: 5,10,13,25,27,43
You need to have a conversation with one who wants to hang on to your generous hospitality, forever. Some uncertainty may cause you to take time to make decisions. Your ability to work through complex situations can come in very handy. You need to eliminate distractions and get straight to the heart of the matter. When you do something for yourself your energy flows more freely. By week’s end you’ll be ready to enjoy yourself. LUCKY NUMBERS: 1,11,17,20,43,44
Your job may demand that you pay attention to every detail. You prefer to deal with the big picture. A close friend or partner could get on your nerves now. They may be worried about a minor matter that frustrates you. Don’t allow your emotions to make decisions for you. It may cause trouble to control your actions or re-actions. Your emotional well-being will depend on how well you deal with a recent family situation. Don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle. You may need to learn to let others do things for you for a change. That’ll leave time to explore the wild, new ideas that are filling your head these days. LUCKY NUMBERS: 27,36,38,43,45,48
Spend time by yourself if at all possible. Your usual cool may not be evident and your emotions could be extreme. Erratic behavior may cause isolation. Allow others to do their own thing. When communicating with children, try to put yourself in their position. It’ll help you take a fresher perspective on the whole situation. You’ll experience a growing awareness of who you are and what you need. By the end of the week, you should have a much clearer sense of where you stand. The greatest pressure is that which you put on yourself. LUCKY NUMBERS: 2,5,7,35,37,39
You may be able to see much more than the rest of us. You’ll be able to tap into this part of your psyche with little effort. Your perspective will allow you to notice the big patterns that often may be lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life. Children & loved ones may be on your mind more. Try to get more involved in organizations that help children who are experiencing difficulties. You have much to offer & will gain greatly by the experience. Realize that everyone you influence can help build your confidence & effectiveness on the overall situation. LUCKY NUMBERS: 11,15,23,25,26,38
This is not just about romance; it can also be about friendship and professional partnership. Your involvement with family situation could prove to be very interesting. You may want to watch what you say, though. Your words could be misinterpreted. Your intuitive insights and healing energies can be used positively to help others. Take the time to let your lover know how much you really care. You’ll be able to see the bigger picture and understand that you’ll be enjoying a change of venue, very soon. LUCKY NUMBERS: 12,17,24,28,29,38
Unpredictable events may disrupt your routine greatly. You may find it hard to get a clear response from a co-worker, mate. You need the information & you need it now, but somehow it may not be forthcoming. Try asking again, with finer delicacy. It may just be that, there’s more here than meets the eye. An act of kindness or gesture of caring can melt the resistance and get you what you want. Your generosity could also put you in the poorhouse. Try not to give others too much. Give them your time, not from your wallet. LUCKY NUMBERS: 24,26,37,38,44,45
You may encounter problems with authority figures that could lead to confinement or delays. Your imagination can help you come up with some high profit ideas. Even you still have things to learn. Taking part in a class or workshop is one way to help this happen. Make sure all of your personal papers & data are in order. Pay close attention to detail & don’t put serious issues on the back burner. If you see the challenge as a puzzle, you’ll be able to put the pieces together. Doubt does not mean no, it simply means that you have to work harder to succeed. LUCKY NUMBERS: 8,9,16,25,26,36
You don’t have to accept whatever comes your way, but neither should you reject innovation as a matter of course. You may also have the gift of being able to push others in the direction you want them to go. You understand how to use the energy of the team, and this enables you to stretch a dollar with great success. Take some time out to do things with children. You may just find they really need more than you imagined. Try not to lose your patience, support will work better than criticism. Your creative energies may also be strong. Your imagination flourishes to produce beauty, art, and other forms of expression. Be positive & your influence will spread everywhere. LUCKY NUMBERS: 9,19,27,33,36,49
Use these valuable virtues to get you through others’ moods. Those around you may start the week with enthusiasm, then lose their way in the process. You can get others to do things for you if you use your charm. Dealing with “wishy-washy” people may test your patience. Try to keep your workload to a normal level, no more long hours. You need your rest, even if you see yourself as too tough to quit. Soothing music or easy reading can make you more comfortable. Use your imagination to get others to follow your lead. This can break down a barrier and can even lead to a new friendship. Children may not be as eager to listen unless you make your conversation interesting. LUCKY NUMBERS: 2,4,7,20,22,30
Your life has been far too busy lately. Try not to sweep your problems under the rug. Expect disagreements with your partner if financial irresponsibility has left you in a tight spot. The key might be to set limitations on each other’s spending habits. Perhaps you were supposed to take care of this situation long time ago. Slow down and deal with it now. Then you’ll get this problem behind you forever. If you want to make long term plans, make sure you share them with those who will be affected. They’ll appreciate your consideration. Ask direct questions if you have any doubts. LUCKY NUMBERS: 4,16,17,28,29,32