Volume 35, No. 6
We Keep On
We wait a lot these days. It feels as if everything ground to a halt a year ago when the pandemic quarantine went into effect. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve waited for the curve to be flattened, the weather to change, and the vaccines to be rolled out. We’ve seen social injustice rise this past year in black and brown communities and poor populations due to the harsh effects of the criminal justice system, lack of community assistance, and the spread of disease. We feel as if waiting isn’t getting us any closer to resurrection or new life.
And so, it makes sense that Royal Lane’s Lenten theme has been “I Wait” from Psalm 130. Because that’s what Lent is. Lent is waiting with anticipation for the good news of Easter as we travel the long road to the cross together. We wait. Yet, even in the Lenten waiting, we keep on.
We keep on worshipping and congregating virtually through YouTube and Zoom. We will have a small Flowering of the Cross service in person and outside (registration information on royallane.org) knowing that we’ve waited to be back together for over a year. However, we still have to wait a tad bit longer for hugs, no mask visiting, and hands on caring for one another. But, we keep on writing letters, making phone calls, and doing what we can do from afar as we wait. We are waiting for our Children’s and Youth areas to be repaired after the pipes burst from the winter storm. But we keep on creating and implementing imaginative programming for our young ones. We keep on.
We keep on working to improve the lives of all Texans by learning how we, as a faith community, can be more anti-racist, decrease mass incarcerations, and abolish the death penalty. There are many important bills moving through the Texas legislature in 2021 like ones that will get rid of Confederate Heroes Day, ban no-knock warrants (one year after Breonna Taylor’s murder), halt juvenile curfews which affect mostly black and brown children, and enact many good reforms though the George Floyd Act.
We are also keeping an eye on the bad bills, the ones that will harm people. One such bill impacts our efforts at bail reform. Over the past year, I’ve worked with Faith in Texas to bail out many individuals who should’ve been released, but were not because they couldn’t pay their small bail. Keeping people behind bars because they can’t make bail hurts families and their communities. There is a bill, SB 21, that will make it harder for charitable organizations, like churches, to pay bail for incarcerated people while also taking immigration status into account. Many of us have written letters to the state legislature for legislators to oppose SB 21. Faith in Texas will have a briefing about this bill on March 28 at 3:00 PM. We keep on.
We keep on shifting, growing, moving, and loving as a congregation even in this time of waiting. The Alliance of Baptists, Royal Lane’s main congregational affiliate is changing to become an anti-racist denomination. If you want to see how they are moving forward in this work, they will have open meetings this week to discuss their new covenant and by-laws on Thursday at 7:00 PM and Sunday at 5:00 PM. Also, Fellowship Southwest, our other congregational affiliate, is transitioning to a new director, Stephen Reeves, who is a lawyer, advocacy leader for CBF, and native Texan. And we say goodbye to our good friend, Marv Knox. We keep on.
We keep on because Easter is coming. We keep on because we know how the story ends when the deep grave and the bondage of death-dealing forces do not hold us anymore, when life and liberty are the celebrations we pronounce when we sing “Christ’s redeeming work is done.”
I know we are waiting. But in the waiting, we… keep… on.