Volume 33, Issue 13
Summertime and the Living is…Easy?
Whew! It’s hot in Dallas! Doesn’t it seem like it went from breezy and crisp springtime weather to a really hot sauna outside? For me, it feels as if we just made it through Easter. Didn’t we just celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church at Pentecost? Yet, we’ve already completed Youth Camp while also gearing up for Vacation Bible School, Mission Trip, and Children’s Camp. Spring break has given way to the longer, languid months of summer break. It’s summertime and the living should be easy, right?
I know we all feel extremely busy with vacations, work trips, medical problems, bills piling up, clingy kids, and ailing parents. We are overwhelmed at home, at work, and in our communities. Murders are happening at a record pace, gun violence is rising along with the temperature, and more people than ever can’t afford a home in Dallas. It is clear as summertime gets into full swing that Dallas needs us, Royal Lane Baptist Church, to act by raising our voices for the marginalized and act on behalf of those in need.
Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis, Professor of Preaching at Luther Seminary, considers the lectionary text for this Sunday when Jesus sent seventy disciples, two by two, into a nearby city to be with the residents and receive their hospitality. And in so doing, the deep connection was to bring everyone together to share in the bounty of God. She says, “I find it comforting that Jesus doesn’t send the disciples out solo. Seventy is a hefty number of colleagues and comrades to accompany you and have your back. We need each other in this thing called ministry, in our call to preach. We shake the dust off and move on – but we never travel alone.”
If we, as thoughtful Christians, are going to change the hurtful and abusive systems that mostly affect the marginalized in this city, we need to go into the homes and lives of those who might be different than us. As part of my call to do just that, I am working with a local advocacy group called Faith in Texas to make sure that every person in Dallas has just and equitable housing. I recently saw a USA Today article that in major U.S. cities, iconic “gayborhoods” are becoming too expensive for LGBTQ people. I would add that people of color, the poor, and disabled are also finding it more difficult to find adequate housing. Not only will marginalized individuals and families feel the heat more profoundly this summer, but we, as followers of Jesus, can’t live out this important Lukan passage and go to homes and build relationships with hurting people in this city if those people continue to be pushed out of their homes and communities.
A sister UCC church in east Dallas created a survey to determine the struggles LGBTQ people have with housing discrimination. If you have time to complete the brief survey, please do so. Here is the link: http://www.fccdfw.org/survey
As we celebrate our nation and our freedoms this week, I celebrate you and your good work as Royal Lane Baptist Church. Being Baptist means we lean into religious and personal freedom. And so, as the people of God and as Royal Lane Baptist Church, it is my hope that we continue to find ways to go into the city, build relationships with residents, and commune with one another as we share the presence of God. For if we do, then healing and salvation will truly take place.