“The judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.
I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. “
These words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, remind us that we have work to do. We have to do more than remember his words, read his speeches, but like Rev. King we must Live and Be the Dream. So often we let our busy lives get in the way. There is always something else we can be doing or want to be doing. We feel the pressure of constantly being on the go and doing lots of things in our congregations and our community. There are so many needs from the lonely who could use a visit or a phone call, to the sick who are in need of the sacraments of anointing, the person looking for help for food, utilities or rent. We have those who just need us to take a moment and listen. Then in our families who require our attention, in my case the care of two elderly parents, or for you it might be the needs of your child, spouse or inlaws. All in all we might say I’m just to busy to add something else to what I have to do. We may feel we just don’t have time for justice ministry. I know I felt like this more often then I care to say.
But Dr. King reminds us, Why we can’t wait”
You see we can’t wait for affordable housing because every day I pass people living on the streets, where they have camped out and made a curbside spot their home, You see we can’t wait because every day hundreds of people in Pinellas County are Baker acted, and are held in hospitals and then are released on the streets because they are no ongoing services for them.
You see we can’t wait, when last year over 10,000 out of school suspensions were given out to our students. That’s 10,000 times a child was left unsupervised in the community.
Let me tell you why we can’t wait. 75% of the St. Petersburg police department cannot afford to live in the city they work to protect, because the price of housing is soo expensive. The price of housing has increased almost 50% in the past 5 years.
You see this is why today we cannot wait for affordable housing, we can’t wait to provide proper care for those incarcerated and struggling with addiction. These are some of the brutal facts in Pinellas County and we are the only voices raising the alarm. The Pharaoh narrative would say that all is fine and well in our community, and in it is clear that from our meetings our city officials have been blinded by the Pharaoh native.
From letters being sent to inform households that graduation rates have gone up 82% while failing to recognize that only 66% of African American Boys are graduating, namely 1/3 of black boys are Not graduating from High school. This is why I can’t wait, and we ought not wait.
It is time for us as people of faith to Courageously Live the Gospel here in Pinellas County. To call out Pharaoh, correct the narrative and demand justice for all people. I am told that for years FAST has attempted turn out 3,000 people. This has got to be our year, we have got to meet our goal, stand with our people and invite our congregation members our neighbors co-workers and friends. Let’s march on Tropicana field with 3,000 people and send a clear message that We cannot wait, we are not waiting. You see we have to straighten our backs. Martin reminded us that when a man straightens is back he’s going somewhere, because you can’t ride a man’s back when it’s straight.