A Pastoral Message for Martin Luther King Jr. Day
I first read Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as a high school senior. Written[...]
In his sermon at last month’s BKB Fall Festival, Pastor Lusungu Msigwa observed, “As I read the text (1 Kings 19:4-8) 'Inatosha' -or- 'It is Enough' is found between what has been done and what has to be done.” Whether what had been done was incredibly wonderful or inconceivably heartbreaking, to say "It is enough" is to signal a time of transition and change.
Liturgically, the season of Advent serves a similar purpose. We stand in the in-between time of already and not yet, with recent declarations of Christ the King ringing in our ears and anticipation of meeting him anew in the manger in a few weeks’ time. Standing in the space between what has been done and what has yet to be done, we proclaim that Christ has come and that Christ will come again. In that in-between witness, there is "enough" for us all – and for that we give thanks.
After 18 pandemic months, Pastor Msigwa turned the "mirror of inatosha" toward our BKB companion relationship as well. For him, the space between what was and what will be is most constructively thought of as, “a stage of evaluation, assessment, and appraisal.” For him, this season of saying "enough" is “a time to recalculate, recharge, and redo. It is a time of giving thanks and appreciation to God for all that has been happening.”
After reviewing where we’ve been, and because the journey before us is long, “Together we need to ask God what God wants this partnership to accomplish with another 30 or more years to come.” What are God’s plans for Americans though this relationship? What are God’s plans for Tanzanians? Where and how are we being called to accompany one another in the weeks and months and years ahead?
Adopting an in-between posture in this in-between space and in-between time, Pastor Msigwa closed his sermon with the following words of encouragement and wisdom:
Let us sit and evaluate our journey together,
Let us come together and review what we have done.
Let us have some findings and appreciate what God has done though this partnership.
Let us join hands and cry again to God and tell him, “Inatosha! It is enough!” for us being troubled with COVID 19.
Let us call on God to intervene, to allow us to continue our journeying together – as it was before – and even much better than before.
Then, let us find the best way forward together with God.
As we proceed on the Way, together, this Advent, my prayer for you is this: that you may find hope and peace and joy and love….And that that may be enough.
The Rev. Peter Harrits
Director of Bega Kwa Bega & Assistant to the Bishop