Today, Ruth Nkemontoh from Abundant Life Church shares her reflections from last month’s city-wide service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who practiced his faith
wholeheartedly. I look to his life as an example of putting faith into action, or as I recently equated it, being comfortable with uncertainty. Each year, around January 20th, people across the US pay homage to this man by hosting a day of community service or holding memorial dinners, film viewings, or other events.
On Sunday, January 19th, 2014, the Black Ministerial Alliance (BMA) and the Cambridge Black Pastors Alliance (CBPA) came together to honor this well known dreamer with a worship service. The service included both Boston and Cambridge-based churches of various denominations. The program created a space for a multitude of pastoral voices to be heard. Even worship followed suit as we were graced with the presence of a gospel choir made up of individuals representing choirs throughout the Boston area. The unity of the entire evening was a beautiful sight to see, an image I am still now left with, two weeks later.
Having moved to Boston over a year ago, I’ve noticed many things – one in particular being how segregated and territorial the city can be. When I found my current church home, Abundant Life, it was through an advertisement in the program of United Night of Worship. That evening spoke volumes as I witnessed people from all over the Greater Boston Area being brought together for the glory of God. Attending the BMA/CBPA worship service was a similar experience. It isn’t that ingenious of an idea to come together as a church, made of multiple denominations, with multiple pastors, and yet how often do we do it? In today’s society, it can be easy to get caught up in the individualistic tendencies our world values so highly, yet God calls us to community. Community is not only the community we make for ourselves, but the wider community that God has made for us. This includes our brothers and sisters across the street, across the Charles River, and across denominations. If we can’t model that as believers, as churches who claim to believe in the Church being one body, then how can we expect the rest of the world to?
The MLK service was a joint effort communicating hope: a statement that
churches are united and banding together for a stronger impact. Gathering to remember a man who helped pave the way for us to be there
that night also served as a reminder of why this unity is still so desperately needed today. In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 18 verse 20, the Lord promises that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He will be also. From the life of MLK Jr. and others like him, we’ve learned that making change requires the effort, gifts, and commitment of many. We can’t go it alone and, once we surrender to the promise that we don’t have to do it on our own, we’re able to step into the fullness of community God has called us into. It is then that we will truly begin to live as brothers and sisters, when we have learned to “rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity.” -MLK Jr.
Note: This article was first published in Abundant Life Church’s monthly e-newsletter