Hope Grounded in Truth

I’m closing in on Ruleville, Mississippi, home to my mom, Emma Lee Lewis, and Fannie Lou Hamer. We’ll see Mrs. Hamer’s memorial tomorrow, and the grave of Mommy’s uncle, George Jordan, who worked alongside Mrs. Hamer, registering Mississippi folks to vote.
Earlier today, John and I stopped and mourned at the Bryant’s Grocery Store in Money, MS. It was there that a 14-year-old’s quest for candy turned into a fatal encounter. It was difficult to breathe in the hot sun, imagining young Emmett Till, who had no idea the fate that awaited him. The two men who mutilated and murdered the boy were acquitted, but then sold their “confession of the murder” to Look magazine.
Mrs. Carolyn Bryant has since admitted that the story she told about Emmett grabbing her around the waist was a lie meant to justify his murder. However, no one has ever been punished for this lie or the murder itself.
The truth is white supremacy is a lie that kills. The truth is fear, bigotry and hatred lead to violence and the maiming of bodies and souls. The truth is that love—fierce love—is the only force that has ever liberated the hearts of humankind; Love is still the only Way, the Truth and the Life that will bring us to shalom and healing.
As John and I move through the south together, our revolutionary community keeps our eyes on the prize, our hands on the so-called gospel plow, and our feet marching for freedom. We weep at the ongoing symbols of brokenness—those we see in museums, and in real lived places along the freedom road. And we also weep at the tender way you, cherished family, and others, dare to live love-fueled justice every day. You bring me joy; I hope in you. Please, keep dreaming God’s dream, and working for it to come true.
Come Sunday, Rev. Natalie will preach “Who Am I?” reflecting on the extracanonical The Thunder: Perfect Mind, and our ongoing quest to live into who we are. And, in a special invitation to worship, you’ll meet my dad at the place civil rights martyr James Chaney is buried.
I hope you’ll join us Monday or Tuesday for the Middle Players’ newest performance, “The Conspiracies Are Real!!!.” And families, be sure to mark your calendars for the Middle Youth Coney Island Beach Day and our upcoming Youth Leadership Lab.
Arts and liberatory education fuel this justice movement, and we’re so blessed to live in community filled with both.
I love you so much,
P.S. In August, we begin our new interactive worship experience format, so click here to learn more about how you’ll be able to celebrate with your Middle family!