This Easter was extremely moving for me. A huge part of this Holy Week’s meaning occurred because of the Peace Walk I participated in along with ten others from Westminster and a couple hundred others from area churches. There is something profound about physically walking with a large group of other people. There is an energy that a large group produces and multiplies. This is especially true when that group is focused on a common purpose. Peace!
I was too young to have walked in the Civil Rights Marches of the 1960’s. One of the pastors who spoke at the worship service walked with Martin Luther King, Jr. The pulpit they spoke from at First Christian Church was the same pulpit where Dr. King preached when he came to Des Moines and preached at First Christian. Aaron Smith, who acted in Westminster’s production of “Mountaintop,” reprised his role and preached the sermon Dr. King made famous at Riverside Church in New York City. The past and present were brought together.
Since I’ve been ordained, I’ve wondered whether I would have had the faith commitment and courage to drive south and walk with the Civil Rights leaders had I been a generation older. There was nothing courageous about walking in the Peace Walk this year. But that didn’t lessen the meaning. In fact, making the walk down University, without anxiety or fear, made it even more meaningful. It reminded me of how far we have come as a society.
Then I turned on the news, and was reminded of how far we still have to go. Our walk for peace, equality, and justice is not over. We have many more miles to walk together before real peace, equality, and justice is over. Walking together is not enough. For real change to take place, God must be invited along on our journey. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, whatever we do will end in failure. But I trust God believes in the cause of peace, equality, and justice. God will not leave us alone on this journey.
Next year, put Palm Sunday afternoon’s Peace Walk on your calendar. But also spend some time learning about other ways Westminster continues to bring peace, equality, and justice to our community and world. Come and walk through issues of immigration and sanctuary. Our call is to walk together so God’s peace, equality, and justice will continue to bring healing and wholeness to our oft-broken world. Together, let’s step out in faith!