By Bishop Jonathan Holston
“Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”—Matthew 22:37-39
Some years ago, Dionne Warwick recorded a popular song written by Hal David and Bert Bacharach, which stated these simple words; namely, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
Furthermore, the song goes on to exclaim that “No, not just for some but for everyone.”
Truly, what the world needs now and has always needed is love. Love is the foundation of healthy relationships. It is also my understanding that healthy relationships start with a mutual respect of others. Yet, we can often be found looking for love in all the wrong places in life.
I share this poem for your consideration:
“The Cold Within”
Six humans trapped by happenstance, in bleak and bitter cold,
Each one possessed a stick of wood, or so the story is told.
Their dying fire in need of logs, the first man held his back,
For of the faces ‘round the fire, he noticed one was black.
The next man looking ‘cross the way saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes, he gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich.
The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave was how he played the game.
Their logs held tight in death’s still hand was proof of human sin,
They didn’t die from the cold without—
They died from the cold within.
By the publishing of this February edition of the Advocate, the Extended Cabinet along with members of the Conference Task Force on Racial Reconciliation will have attended together the movie showing of “Selma.” The discussion points in the Selma Kit will be fully shared amongst us.
Friends, I extend this same opportunity to you as well. This is an excellent time for our congregations to view this movie across ethnic and racial lines. It is a wonderful opportunity to share conversation of mutual respect about the movie. What our communities need now more than ever is a love that will transform the world.
It is my hope that we can all experience the power of this moment. What say you?
By Bishop Jonathan Holston