Pastor Joby Martin at the MLK Breakfast

Pastor Joby Martin at the MLK Breakfast

MLK Day always seems to be a day of reflection for me. I get all sentimental and then up on my soap box. You can read some of what I feel is my best material, posted on this day the past few years, like How To Win In The Endeavor For Peace” or “Religious Freedom: What Does Jesus Really Look Like These Days.” With the history of Jacksonville, Florida as the backdrop for my experience, I just feel we have come so far, then I see the current setting of new challenges for deeply rooted thinking that seems off-key… and I head off to type another “Peace, Love and Unity” post.

Is there shelter in unity?

I think to get to the place of unity we have to embrace vulnerability. White guys have to be eager to go to the MLK breakfast here in the south. Church people need to mix and mingle better outside of their small group and congregation… not down the street with the folks in the next country club, but across town (or globally for that matter) with people who need to know we care. Conversations need to take place despite adversity. Then, unity is achieved through diversity…

“We need to reach that happy stage of our development when differences and diversity are not seen as sources of division and distrust, but of strength and inspiration.” Josefa Iloilo

Is there shelter in unity?

Yes. There is when we ALL have the love of God painted on our hearts. Then, there will be no more poverty. Or discrimination. We won’t have to worry about walking safely down a dark alley either. On that day our differences will be our strengths as we will truly be one body. We see a glimmer of that in our world today… and for this we have hope.

“A great misunderstanding in the world is that we must wait until we feel safe to be vulnerable with other people. They must earn our trust and show us they will not take our wounds and cause them to bleed more. We misconstrue the wisdom of guarding our hearts, our life’s wellspring, as a command to build a fortress around them.

We are never safe from pain, and safety has nothing to do with vulnerability.

Vulnerability will hurt… It is a paradox: once we realize being vulnerable is never safe, we are then free to be vulnerable. We guard our hearts by giving them to the Guardian. We accept the fact that hurt will come. We see wounds as gifts. When this dramatic shift in our spirit occurs, fear no longer controls us.” Anne Marie Miller

Those black men who marched in Selma and in Jacksonville some 50 years ago had unity. They we also throwing themselves out there. Their vulnerability was answered with hostility. The unity these brave men carried was in their cause. Did they find shelter in unity?

The answer to that question is that it all depends on your perspective…

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. What, then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28-31

Yea, they found shelter… and hope in their situation. Because they knew the Lord. They understood the bigger picture.

Is there shelter in unity? You can share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.


I’m no longer running comments on my blog. Please read this blog post to understand why.