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Hope in a Time of Darkness

Dec 07, 2016 — Categories: ,

Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can. These words are often attributed to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, although there is some dispute about their authorship. They may have been penned by a woman, unnamed of course. It appears they were frequently revised. But our ancestors offered them to us to ponder so ponder them we shall.

Hope in a Time of Darkness

Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.

These words are often attributed to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, although there is some dispute about their authorship. They may have been penned by a woman, unnamed of course. It appears they were frequently revised. But our ancestors offered them to us to ponder so ponder them we shall.

I think this advice points us in the right direction as we in America face 2017. These words remind us that our efforts are daily, are mostly local and sometimes global. That we are called to maintain and expand our lifestyle of praying for the dead and fighting like hell for the living, per Mother Jones. But I do think that these times perhaps call for yet another revision of these wise words from the 18th century, as this 21st century brings new challenges. So here is my version:

“Do all the justice you can,
By all the means you have,
In all the ways you can,
With all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.
Then find a holy rest
And peace at the last.”

Acts of goodness, kindness and charity will get us through each day and are absolutely necessary to our sanity. But only acts of justice, small or large, will save us: restoring the vote, restoring clean water to drink, criminal justice reform, protecting children from trauma and brutality, ending gender based violence, addressing climate change, ending income inequality, creating safe places, etc. In other words, changing hearts and minds and changing institutions.

Dr. King never said that bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice would be easy; he just said that he believed that it would bend in that direction. Clearly he knew it was a life work that would need to continue long after he made his contribution. So we will pass these words to our children and grandchildren and hopefully prepare them to carry on. We may not see it from here, but from a distance, the arc of the moral universe is bending towards justice.

It is the only hope we have.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.FaithTrustInstitute.org
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