taking the words of Jesus seriously

EDITOR’S NOTE: In 12 state capitals across the US, faith and justice leaders are organizing a Moral Week of Action to conclude the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he exhorted the crowd to “go home” to Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to work for justice.

Read news coverage of yesterday’s action in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As a faith-rooted organizing effort, the Moral Week of Action is grounded in prayer. RLC is sharing daily meditations from movement leaders. Catch up on meditations from previous days here:

Day 1: Labor and Economic Justice, by Dr. Rodney Sadler

Day 2: Education, by Rev. Nancy Petty

Day 3: Equal Protection Under the Law, by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

As the Movement turns its attention to youth and youth-led struggles today, Rev. Jimmy Hawkins offers the following meditation.

Dear God, we give thanks for our youth who have been called by name. In this march of faith please give us youthful speech and understanding. Give us eyes that see the wonder of life and are filled with excitement and joy. Give us youthful shouts to proclaim your glory as you call us to live lives that are loving and just. In your wonderful name. Amen.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”–I Timothy 4:12

This summer a high school student shared with me, her pastor, that she was stressed beyond belief. She shared that the pressures in her life were relentless and sometimes overwhelming–pressures from school, friends and even parents. American youth face a multitude of challenges: a lack of support for education, cuts in school funding, family struggles, poverty, violence in schools, relationships, and drug abuse. These challenges are compounded by the failure of our political leaders to provide sensible leadership and policies. Children are rushed into the adult world yet not listened to when they share their concerns and solutions concerning the environment, politics, oppression, and justice.

In Holy Scripture we read the inspirational stories of young people. David was anointed king because God saw something in him that the adults lacked–faith and determination to serve the Lord God. The prophet Samuel was called by God at an early age and answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Apostle Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy to inspire him as a leader in the church. Paul saw tremendous potential in Timothy as a pastor who was led by the Spirit. Timothy was dedicated to the church and very gifted; he was able to teach and instruct others much older than he was.

Timothy’s only deficit was a lack of confidence and courage. He was timid. Oftentimes it is only a lack of confidence that holds our young people back. Today’s world needs the leadership of young people, for we desperately need a fresh look at life. With so much cynicism everywhere, young people can interject new life into the familiar. They inspire us to discover new levels of innovative change and transformation.

The youth are not just our future; they show us what it means to have hope for today.

Dear God, please bless the young people of our state, nation and the world with opportunities to provide leadership utilizing the gifts and talents you have given them. The obstacles they face appear insurmountable, yet through faith in you all things are possible. Bless us with the openness to follow them as they are led by your Holy Spirit. In your holy name. Amen.


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