Pastor’s Pen

[wolf_dropcap text=”D” font=”Montserrat”]uring the entirety of the month of May, our church has been charged to rise to the call of courageous discipleship. Together, we have journeyed through the book of Acts on Sundays and Tuesdays in search of practical application derived from historical truth. From the ascension of Jesus Christ to Peter and John standing before the Sanhedrin, we have become witnesses to the faithfulness of God to those committed to His work despite great obstacles and trials. We have learned that God not only defends the church from external foes, He also protects her from internal deterrents (Ananias and Sapphira) as well. Our lives have been enriched by the example of what can be accomplished by people who unselfishly sacrifice for the good of others and the advancement of a cause much bigger than themselves. Above all, we can attest that when there is unity and harmony among believers, lives connect to the gospel and the Holy Spirit is free to save, heal, deliver and set free. Hallelujah and Amen!
With appreciation for the aforementioned historical context, what does it mean to be a courageous disciple today? How do we reconcile the understanding of an ever-present God who defends His own in an age of egregious moral and ethical rejection? These are the difficult questions that I struggled to answer last week as I learned of the tragic passing of 23 year old Richard Collins III. A couple of days before his murder on the campus of the University of Maryland, Collins was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army and was a couple of days away from graduation from Bowie State University. 22 year old Sean Urbanski, a known white supremacist was arrested without incident and charged with the murder. Currently, the FBI is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Through the devastation of this loss, I believe the valuable lesson that the church universal must finally come to understand is that it is not sufficient to only pray.
We live in a world that must not only hear the gospel, but also see it in action. The Apostle James reminds believers that we must be hearers and doers of the word. There is a sacred obligation that rests upon all of those who espouse to be followers of Jesus Christ; we must reject what is immoral and take a stand for what is right. We must resist the lies of darkness and proclaim the truth of His light. We must shun the work of hate and engage the labor of love. We must do this in times of ease and inconvenience; in times of good and ill report; in times of benefit and when it is seemingly of no advantage. This is what it means to be courageous! In response to our courage, scriptures illustrates that God always stands with us. While prayer is essential, we must do more than pray. “Let the world in you the Savior see!” Rejoice and be glad!