The Promised Land

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

These are the words that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to conclude his final speech I've Been to the Mountaintop. I heard these words excerpted last night at the musical and gospel celebration in honor of this saint of the church. And today, I'm wondering about the Promised Land. I'm still not sure what this means.

The Biblical theme is huge. It's probably larger than we can imagine. The Promised Land is not only what is imagined. It's not only what Moses journeyed toward when Aaron served as his voice. It's not only what Joshua finally arrived to with the Israelite community that has such high hopes through Moses' encouragement. It's more than that. I'm still not sure how to articulate my own thoughts on what this ideal is today -- perhaps because today is the day of my ordination. Today, when we celebrate the work on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am celebrating the first anniversary ordination. And because of this event, it seems impossible to imagine the Promised Land.

Tonight, it seems like there is more to this ideal that Joshua experienced. It's not done. And I should probably go back to my Bible to remember exactly what is said about this idea -- because I don't think that we are there yet. Or at least, this is what I said to one of my good friends tonight after dinner. He commented that I must so proud of my accomplishments -- but I don't think that this is what this anniversary is about. It's not about achievement or where we've been. To me, this anniversaty is about all of the people that surround me. It's about the community that supports me. It's about the community that believes that I can lead. It's about the people that believe that I can be a vision of hope. It's about those people that allow me to hold the cup and the loaf and call upon the presence of God. My anniversary is about these people that make my ministry possible. It's about what the Promised Land will be and how we imagine our Church together.

1 comment:

LittleMary said...

and yet, my dear...don't diminish the fact that you responded to the call, you responded to the faith and trust that your people put into you that you would be a god bearer and feed them and quench their thirst. much love to you on this week of your ordination.