Christ of the Breadlines, a woodcut by Fritz Eichenberg
To people of significant religious and political power, Jesus said:
“People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom.” (Luke 13:29)
While at a party hosted by a man who enjoyed significant religious and political power, Jesus said:
“When you host a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers and sisters, your relatives, or rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return and that will be your reward. Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. And you will be blessed because they can’t repay you. Instead, you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.'” (Luke 14:12-14)
Welcome the people who can’t pay you back, require the most need for the most resources, and are most often excluded–that’s the point of Jesus story told in a context of power. It would do society good if the Church would listen to Jesus rather than find reasons (and other programs) not to.
Because Jesus chose to welcome us, even when we could have remained excluded, we must choose to welcome others, especially those most often excluded.
Come on Church. Let’s do better. Relinquish some programs. Takes risks. Extend God’s hospitality and generosity to those who need it most. Let’s learn to love. We have the Spirit of Christ and the resources of God’s kingdom.
And Pastors, let’s model the lives we proclaim. Say no to some church folk so you can say yes to marginalized folk. Take courage and call the Church to join you and meet Jesus in the margins where the excluded are found. If they don’t want to, fine. Maybe they’ll eventually come around. If not, I assure you they’ll find dozens of other churches to join where they can remain comfortable and complacent (and I don’t say this lightly). As for you and me, let’s obey Jesus and trust him with the consequences.
The city to which God has called us needs us to.
Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience.
Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas.
Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.