April 6, 2009

Baptist Border Crossing in Lent

            We have just completed a regional expression of the New Baptist Covenant, a gathering in January 2008 prompted by President Jimmy Carter’s vision for reconciliation among Baptists.  The event held here in the Kansas City metro area, April 2-4, was entitled Baptist Border Crossing Summit.  Hundreds of Baptists of various hues and varied theological perspectives came together to worship and to think about ways to live out the mandates of Jesus in our communities. We heard inspired preaching, gifted musicians and worship leaders, and well prepared break-out session leaders.

            The highlight of the summit was the presence of President Jimmy Carter on Friday morning. He spoke of his own commitment throughout his life to racial reconciliation, his continuing work for justice and peace throughout the world, and his desire that Baptists focus on the things that bind us together—salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is concerned, as a well-known Baptist layperson, that the Baptist part of the Body of Christ be known for more than internecine battles that have scarred our witness in the world. Because of our profession of being faithful to Scripture, we should be known as the ones who live out the instructions of Jesus:

·         Bring good news to the poor

·         Proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind

·         Let the oppressed go free

·         Enact the year of the Lord’s favor

It is time to move beyond words and follow the one who goes before us.  This Holy Week is a propitious time to deepen our discipleship, especially as we cross borders of fear, prejudice, and exclusion.


That is the pathway Jesus takes.


            Molly T. Marshall



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