Acts 1:15-17; 21-24
“Chosen, Called, Convicted”
“I never thought I was breaking a glass ceiling. I had to do what I had to do, and it never occurred to me not to.” These words, shared so humbly by civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman, essentially encapsulate this week’s message from Acts 1, when Matthias is chosen to become the twelfth apostle after Judas’ betrayal and death.
There are many times in life in which we find that we called or expected to lead in some fashion, when we never imagined that the leadership would be asked of us. Mrs. Edelman did not intend to become the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar; she simply sought to become an attorney and, as was a pattern in her life, faithfully followed forward in that journey to achieve her goal. She certainly also could not have foreseen in pursuing her law degree that she would become an attorney for activists during the Freedom Summer of 1964, nor that she would end up heading Martin Luther King, Jr’s and the Southern Leadership Conference’s Washington, D.C. chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign. Even when she founded the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973, there is no way that Mrs. Edelman could have known that the work of her organization would eventually earn them distinction as the nation’s primary advocate and authority on society’s need and call to build holistically into our children and future.
Mrs. Edelman could never had known the impact that her work would have and continues to have in and on our nation, as well as all of the lives and communities that she would touch and inspire. She can’t have predicted that in summer of 2011, Broad St. UMC would decide to host their first Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools program to outreach and support our community; this was made possible because of the work that she had begun so many decades prior. She can’t have predicted that our church, along with Asbury North UMC, sees such deep value in this program, the ministry, and the community that it builds that this June we will begin our fourth year serving 80 Scholars and approximately 50 families in this youth civic leadership development program.
We will never know the extent to which we allow God’s hand and work to reach when we allow Him to move and work through us. Mrs. Edelman “had to do what [she] had to do”—what God compelled of her because He does know how far our blessings will reach. Broad St. UMC committed to doing what we always do, which is to serve and uplift the community of which we are a part. In her work combined with ours, we may never fully see the fruit that will grow from these efforts, but we know that it will come forth.
The beauty of the hand and will of God is that we don’t have to be a Marian Wright Edelman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, or Mother Teresa, or an entire church body or organization. We need to be only who it is that God calls us to truly be. As Pastor Lou said in her sermon last week, true change comes from each of us doing the little bit that we can right where we are every single day. We need be only the Walt Jeffreys, the Stephanie Laus, or the HL Wright that God calls us to be—just authentically who our soul seeks to be over what human mentality deems “normal” or “appropriate.” Who we are is more than enough to impact and positively change our world in and for God’s vision and glory so long as we recognize and accept that in God, we are more than enough. Every. Single. Day.