For Joy J. Moore, Christians hoping for political change are a lot like the sci-fi fans who waited for the Star Wars’ “New Hope” prequel “Rogue One” — audiences have to be patient.
“It took four decades to bring that to the big screen,” Moore said. “And if we can wait for that long for Hollywood, maybe we need to wait that long for our government.”
However, Moore said, while political change takes time, there’s one thing Christians shouldn’t be waiting for: Christian action.
“Jesus knows actions speak more clearly than words,” Moore said, further stating that the time for action in spreading God’s loving message is now.
Moore, Tuesday’s chapel guest speaker and the assistant professor of preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary, sent a message to the SPU community about action in a time when action is needed most.
Her message was especially timely since she said she believed that not only Jesus but also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been supportive of this notion.
Chapel kicked off with spirituals by the SPU Gospel Choir, a change from the service’s usual church band music.
According to Associate Professor of Music Stephen Newby, who led the choir, the songs chosen for this chapel honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. since they were spirituals that had often been sung during his lifetime.
The SPU Gospel Choir sang “While the Blood is Still Running Through My Veins” and “Hush, Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name,” inviting chapel-goers to sing along.
Moore also spoke about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s involvement and various actions that were taken during the Civil Rights Movement.
Specifically, Moore referenced lunch counter sit-ins during the 1960s as a protest that mirrored Christian action.
“Only by the power of the Holy Spirit is a young person able to withstand the kind of aggression against them,” Moore said, alluding to the students at these sit-ins.
Moore described the kind of attacks and brutality protesters faced for their actions, such as police assaults and mass incarceration.
However, Moore said, their belief in their message carried them through.
“Their nonviolent protest announced ‘what you are glimpsing is not political clout, but divine intervention,’” she said.
According to Moore, these nonviolent protests of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s time mirrored the action of Jesus’ disciples. These disciples were the model of Christ-like action, she said.
“They were not to argue, they were not to plead, they were not to confront, they were not to engage the bully or to outtalk the blabbermouth,” Moore said. “Their response to those who reject the invitation to peace? Leave.”
Action has to be at the forefront of the Christian message just like it had been at the forefront of the movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and just like Jesus himself, Moore said. She recounted the parable of the Good Samaritan, saying that Jesus extended love to the Samaritan people by including them in his message.
“Jesus identified with a Samaritan … [and] didn’t just say ‘#samaritanlivesmatter’,” Moore said.
Moore went on to say that Jesus’s message is non-discriminatory, proven by the fact that he often spent time with the outcasts of society.
“The word became flesh and dwelt among us,” she said. “All of us.”
The way to spread that word, Moore concluded, was to be “Christ-like” in action instead of simply religious followers of Jesus.
“Somebody’s Twitter feed can have a whole bunch of followers, but that doesn’t mean that that somebody is what anyone should be like,” she said. “Too many of us are just followers of Jesus, but we’re not one with Christ.”
Audience members held hands and sang “We Shall Overcome,” led by the choir, for chapel’s closing spiritual, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a song often sung during his peaceful civil rights protests.