— Francine Renee Saffold
The Covid-19 pandemic deprives us of our usual connections — giving hugs, spending time with family and friends, shopping, working outside of the home, and attending worship services. We find ourselves struggling with “shelter at home” orders, wearing masks and gloves while maintaining the recommended six feet social distance from others. We are feeling isolated, lonely, and physically disconnected as never before.
They harden my heart—these little stones in that wall built from childhood to adulthood, from pebbles to boulders of hurt. “You are ugly. You are fat. You are skinny. You smell like a rat.” These stones are heavy and weigh me down with pain. They make me fall and cry like the rain.
These stones left from mental and physical abuse, molestation, divorce, poverty, low self-esteem, homelessness, prejudice/hate, no love or guidance. It’s hard to see the hatefulness of this world. It’s hard to see that some men have more regard for dogs than Black men. It’s hard to see hungry children without proper clothes. It’s hard for me to understand molestation, prejudice, and hate.
Pastor Michael O. Minor, Ph.D. gained national notoriety initially for banning fried chicken at events at his church in Hernando, Mississippi. But, his reputation as a disciple of faith-based mobilization for health purposes was signed, sealed, and delivered following his successful campaign for the Affordable Care Act. He is credited for enrollment in Obamacare of over 200,000 uninsured Mississippi residents. Subsequently, First Lady Michelle Obama requested his help to promote her “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign, and welcomed him to the White House on numerous occasions.
The one o’ clock prayer meeting had just finished at the Bethesda Senior Center. Gripping the handles of her four-wheel walker, Mrs. Liller P. Bates, known affectionally as Mother Bates, makes her way to a seat. Afternoon sunlight streams through the windows giving her face an angelic glow. To this day, she is still guided by her mother’s counsel offered years ago, to ‘always put God first.’ In a soft voice, Mother Bates explains, “Every morning that I wake up, I thank the Lord that He kept me safe, held back death and disease, and gave me another day.”
In a culture filled with divisiveness, disconnectedness and domination,
we pause for a moment of centered cosmic Christian connection that will bring wholeness and healing to ourselves and our world.
O God, liberate us from the domination of individual and institutional violence. Liberate us for the ministry of deliverance to the captives within and without. Liberate us from a self-centered spiritual materialism and liberate us to serve the present age. Liberate us from building our kingdoms and liberate us for the Kingdom of God. *
—Frank Madison Reid III
“A Prayer for Liberation That Leads To Liberating Love” *
Lord, the psalmist asked, how long O Lord,
How long will Thou hide Thyself from me?
Today, God, there are terrible disasters
Which take the lives of many people.
It is hard to recognize Your hand in such a tragedy,
But I pray that through such tribulations,
many people can come to a deepened relationship with You,
even a new relationship with You,
as we recognize the frailty of our physical existence
and the lack of control we have over it.
Perhaps You use these opportunities to knock at the hearts
of those affected by these calamities, and I pray they let You in.
No matter what tribulations arise in this life,
if we have You dwelling in our hearts,
we are sure to overcome. In Christ’s Name.
Amen —Reverend Chestina Mitchell Archibald
“In The Wake of Tragedy”
Find Hope in the Storm When You Feel You’re in the Storm
Mark 4:39-40 | Isaiah 41:10 | John 16:33
No matter what swirls around us, God promises to be our perfect peace. He assures us he is constantly with us, strengthening and supporting us. Pray that God will help you to keep your eyes and focus on him, not on the circumstances surrounding you. Ask him to help you grow in your trust, believing he is faithful to see us through. Write: In your journal, think of the top five or so things in your life right now that are causing you worry, fear, or anxiety. Give those things over to God now in prayer. Ask him to relieve your fears and help you remember his truth. Invite the Holy Spirit to begin to calm your soul by replacing the fear with the words of truth you just read. Write down the promises from the passages in Mark, Isaiah, and John. When fear begins to creep in, re-read these promises and thank God for his steadfast love.
Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention Host Screening of Milwaukee 53206: A Community Serves Time
The gym at Cannon Baptist Church on Milwaukee’s northside was packed recently with community advocates, and citizens from zip codes throughout Milwaukee County and neighboring suburbs who came to watch the soul-searching documentary Milwaukee 53206. The zip code 53206 is bordered by I-43 on the east, 27th street on the west, North Avenue south, and north to Capitol Drive.