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Keep in Step with the Spirit

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25, NIV). The Holy Ghost is ushering in a new season. Are we poised to embrace it? Signs and wonders are everywhere—but not in the way we expect. Take Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight, alongside other Georgia grassroots organizations, such as The Working Families Party. They were instrumental in delivering Georgia’s electoral votes to the Biden-Harris Presidential ticket and to Raphael Warnock’s and Jon Ossoff’s wins of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats. These triumphs reflect the Spirit at work and hearts, minds, and feet willing to be its conduits. Ordinary people cultivated space for the Creator, just as the Creator endowed them with the needed tools.

Fair Fight’s efforts began six years ago when Abrams lost the gubernatorial election to Brian Kemp. Yet participatory democracy’s history is much longer than Fair Fight. For instance, Ella Baker, whom many call The Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, galvanized grassroots through Freedom Schools, which educated Black sharecroppers in the South about their voting rights and provided basic education. And remember that the original Black U.S. Senators were elected during the Civil War Reconstruction period, with Hiram Revels the first. Black political brilliance on display mere months after chattel slavery’s end (for more on this read Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. Du Bois).

"God is playing the ultimate long game."

How does this history inform us? We must seize our moments! Moments add up to breakthroughs. So we do the negligible noble things each day. We reflect on our own social commitments and complicity in systems of evil and work to dismantle them (Kathy Edin’s January 26th post is an excellent example of this). And we participate in organizations pressing for social justice and inclusion—whether churches with social justice ministries (like those found at GraceCity Church in Baltimore) or national organizations with local affiliates (like The Poor People’s Campaign).

Even more, we must keep a radical perspective on time. Scripture instructs that we live in linear time—chronos—but God stands outside of time—kairos—and his ways and thoughts are higher than ours, as the heavens are above the Earth. Change happens as we reach moments in chronos aligning with kairos. In a recent Zoom convening of The Gathering, Lindsay Thompson said “I don’t think in decades, I think it eons.” Her point is crucial. She highlights the limited understanding we have as we sojourn here for a mere 70 or 80 years, if we’re blessed with longevity. That’s why Kathy Edin’s January 26th post encourages us to hold our beliefs lightly and be prepared for scales to fall from our eyes as we acquire new lens through which to see and the courage to name what our eyes behold.

God is playing the ultimate long game. Christ died over 2,000 years ago and redeemed the world from sin. Christian theologians say we live between the already of Christ’s redemptive crucifixion and resurrection, and the not yet of His return to reconcile all things to Himself. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to “work the middle” as the Lord’s agents of reconciliation, to quote Corey Barnes in the Grace City Quicks video he and his co-pastor RC Bingham posted following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In this vein, I love Hebrews 11 and 12. Chapter 11 contains The Hall of Faith, saints who followed God’s lead despite great hardship. The twelfth chapter reminds us these obedient people of God did not experience the fruits of their faith. They’ve passed the baton to us. We all have a role in God’s unfolding abundance, if we accept our call to make things on earth as they are in heaven. Collectively, our lights can illumine the world. Let’s remember in these first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration, it’s bigger than Biden and Harris. Let’s press on no matter what, knowing we’re part of an eon’s-long lineage of people pursuing just social systems.

And let’s hustle to keep in step with The Spirit!

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