Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Mark 3:13-19a

13He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15and to have authority to cast out demons. 16So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
I recently read the article “I’m Just More Afraid of Climate Change Than I am of Prison” (and listened to it, because I liked it so much!). The article dives deep into the story of the five “Valve Turners” turned off the valve of the Keystone Pipeline and the consequences they face. 

I admire people that can think of creative ways to peacefully stand for their convictions. As the title suggests the activists decided that the possible 26-year prison sentence was worth the statement their actions would make. In fact, they even saw the legal process (even the sentencing hearing!) as an opportunity to help climate change make the news - another forum to make their case.

There were other consequences, too. Some are estranged from family members who feel they have chosen their cause over their relationships. There was a financial cost, a social cost, and the cost of time.

I think there are a lot of people in our society who feel so strongly about their convictions that they are willing to accept any consequence because the consequence is not worse than their fear. There is a difference between acting from fear and acting from a clear vision of what change means. I think Rev. Dr. King had a prophetic vision for what change could mean. He invited people into his vision for a new world order by performing the very change he hoped to bring about. This can be done without bringing harm to people. 

There are also grave consequences for silence. Rev. Dr. King taught us that if we are silent in the face of injustice, we become complicit. There are ways to stand for what we believe without hurting anyone, but there are not ways to make change without consequences. This is part of the calculus of deciding to become one of Jesus’s disciples. There would be grave consequences for following Jesus. 

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I hope you will consider what kind of change you hope to see in your community, society, and world. How will you decide what your risk threshold is? Will you be driven by fear or will you be driven by a clear vision for how the world could be? 
Give us a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven, God. Help us to set our sights on what we could have and not be fueled by fear. Give us courage for hard-won change. Amen.
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at:
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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