Justice Walk Service
Second African Baptist Church
Second African Baptist Church (now Green Street Baptist Church) formally organized under the sponsorship of a protection committee, appointed by First Baptist Church (now Walnut Street). The church was more than a religious experience for African Americans. It was also a school, a social center and a training ground in group cooperation.
Justice Focus: Self-Determination, Education, Interracial Collaboration
Many roads point the direction to justice. Some of them are dangerous, like the road to Jericho in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. On these roads, the very stones cry out their testimony as strangers fall into the hands of robbers and are rescued by grace. Look below at the ground where we now stand. This ground is a reminder of the Jericho Road in our own nation.
All: Where do we stand on this road? Jesus lifted up the compassion of the Samaritan on the Jericho Road. Do we follow this example by doing likewise as advocates, caretakers and accompaniers for our neighbor?
Millions continue to be deprived of basic freedoms at home and abroad. Do we stand comfortably to the side? On the Jericho Road, how do we respond when the safety of others is compromised? Are we content to preserve our own interests, or do we risk our own security for the well-being of the larger human family? Is it only the neighbor who looks like me, talks like me, worships like me, that I will aid on the Jericho Road? Look at and listen to the ground beneath your feet. The very ground proclaims the successes and failures of the past.
All: It is witness to acts of justice that precede us and remind us silently of the efforts that must continue. God has worked among people in this very place to bridge racial and ethnic divides, bringing balance and change in circles of power. We are the descendants of those who have walked the Jericho Road, bringing change and the tangible possibility of mercy.
We have the capacity and the will of spirit to be the Samaritans on the Jericho Roads of our own time. In a world where millions face violence and homelessness, we have a responsibility to uphold the peaceful self-determination of peoples. In a world where access to basic education is a rare privilege, we have the opportunity to teach. In a world where we too often pass our neighbors by, we have a charge to work together — to call each child of God by name, whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender or identity.
Written by Jessica Hawkinson, seminar program coordinator,
young adult intern, Presbyterian United Nations Office, New York
Read by Sara Todd, associate for program management, Jinishian Memorial Program