There is an old spiritual whose words and melody conspire to rip my guts out every time: “Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?”
Every year when Good Friday comes around my soul must have that sing.
And it is feeling that need on this day.
On Sunday we will gather in a mostly racially segregated church to name, among other things, the way that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s message was sprung from the teachings of Jesus. We will hear some of his words and sing songs that harken back to a time when the church took blinders off and took action based upon the teachings of Jesus.
Today I was engaged in an electronic conversation involving some of the clergy who have signed a document saying that we no longer feel bound by a church teaching that conspires to barricade grace from same-sex committed couples. The conversation had to do with how do we as clergy and lay advocates for full inclusion open dialogue and how do we maintain a conversation space free of hate speak and how do we move this crucial conversation out to a world sore weary for want of grace and I want to sing “Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble” because we ARE there every day, positioned at the foot of the cross where our sisters and brothers in Christ are crucified crucified crucified by the unwillingness of God’s people to rise up and say that we will no longer collaborate with the forces of fear.
I am a tired and heart-sore singer needing a good wail and tremble is so real.
Wail I will, and then I will get up, pick up my voice and my heart and search for others who long to do the same and together we will overcome. We will overcome.
Because the heart of God demands our response.
Heaven help us if we sit through tidy and safe commemorations of MLK without turning to now, to us, to what is, and asking ourselves how it is we can go along when so much is yet to be.
May the blinders be banished and our hope and fury be sung from belly and pulpit.