Marjorie Middleton of Silver Spring, MD, USA
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. -Matthew 5:38-44
My most vivid memory of my father was in New Mexico when I was four years old. Born in Washington, DC, my father took an assignment as a social worker for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
My dad, mom, three sisters, and I traveled to the Mescalero and Apache Tribes. Upon arrival, I needed to go to the bathroom. I ran into the adobe house and opened the first door I saw. It was the basement! I tumbled and fell from the top cement step. Dad seemed to know I needed him. He bounded down the stairs and rescued me, taking care of my bumps and cuts. I felt safe and loved.
After six years on the reservation we returned to DC. The 60s were a time of racial stress throughout the United States. But as African Americans living on a reservation, we were sheltered, knowing nothing about prejudice. Dad was a leader: respected and well liked.
Driving back, my parents educated us. They told us about Martin Luther King’s peaceful movement and about his murder. Dad talked about depending on God, even if we encountered prejudice and ugliness. In Mississippi we stopped at a gas station. My brother had to use the bathroom. The attendant told my Dad that “Negroes” were not allowed and we’d need to go “round back” to use the outhouse. My brother learned a lesson in manhood as my Dad told the attendant why he was wrong.
Continuing, my Dad explained, “…if we stand up for Christ, He will stand up for us! When things appear hopeless, just forgive-the Lord knows, and nobody escapes judgment.”
Part of a new community, we connected to people and a different reality. We flourished in a diverse District of Columbia, and later in Maryland. We encountered prejudice every now and again, but blessed with Christ’s presence we became more inclusive. We knew the meaning of equality.
Now, I am assured my prayers, praise, and worship change some part of our battered world.
We are one in Christ.
Week Three: Co-Creating the Future with God
World Conference is an invitation to co-create the future with God as we discern where the Spirit is leading on a variety of topics that have impact for the church and the world. An important part of discernment is releasing our own agendas to become more available to God’s bigger vision. Gently notice what you are carrying into this experience that the Spirit may be inviting you to release. Notice also where you feel the life-giving Spirit opening up new possibilities and ways of seeing that you are invited to embrace.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.