Work The Walls

August 16, 2008 at 12:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

What is there to say but WOW.  This morning was our last moment at the Sea of Galilee.  Before we left I walked the shore and dipped my hands in the water.  While standing on the shore with my hands in the water I reflected on Jesus turning fishers into disciples from this same shore.  It reminded me that no matter who you are or where you find yourself that Jesus is able to speak purpose and possibility into your life.  Later that morning we made our way to the Jordan River where I was baptised in an act of recommittment.  Baptisms are always special for me.  To be baptised in the the same river that John the Baptist baptised Jesus will be something that I will not soon forget.  We then rode through the Jordan River Valley towards Jerusalem.  The trip took us less than two hours would have taken Jesus 8 days.

When we got to Jerusalem we went to the Mount Of Olives and looked over the city.  The rest of our day was focused on walls.  We first met with the gentleman who designed the controversial barrier that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank.  He talked about the need for the wall to be built in order to protect the Jews in Jerusalem from terrorist attacks.  He also discussed some of the resistance to what many Palestinians have called the “Wall Of Apartheid”.  Later that evening we went to the Western Wall as the Jewish Sabbath began and participated in evening prayer.  The Western (or Wailing) Wall is the last remaining wall of the destroyed temple.  It is a place where Jews pray believing that God’s presence still rests in the temple and that it will be rebuilt one day. I took my prayer list (that included the Community Of Hope family) and placed it in a crack in the wall as is the custom.  I got excited about DMV prayer requests being lifted up in such a holy place.  I am expecting testimonies of miracles to meet me when I get home.

The various walls caused me to have to deal with the challenge of conflict in a land of faith.  What does it mean for people of such great faith to have such great conflict.  I am especially reflective because walls of conflict aren’t isolated to Israel and Palestine.  One of the prayer requests I placed in the wall was for Sis. Tonda White.  Sis White is a member whose 18 year old son Johnquan was killed yesterday as a result of gun violence .  I pray that God and the Community Of Hope church family will wrap their arms of comfort around the White family during this time of loss.  I also pray that God will show us all how to dismantle the walls that separate us while establishing firmer foundations for our walls of faith.  My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

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  1. The walls that separate us are walls built on a different foundation and principal. Our country was not truly built on faith. It was built by a system of oppression a system of oppression. The American Dream is supposed to be one founded first in freedom. If we know our faith is our freedom, why then have we bought into the science of individualism?

    God calls us to bear WITH one another, and for African Americans, the Willie Lynch theory has somehow permeated our spiritual, genetic design. We were rejected for so long, we’ve now spent the last forty some-odd years trying to prove ourselves to the 21st Century Massa’. We’re not fighting God’s way however, and we’ve made ourselves the target. We divide and conquer our own folk, fighting the American way – trying desperately to gain an individual respect, and by that, hoping to gain some menial form of reciprocity that we believe will somehow awaken us to the freedom we already have in Christ (because he who the Son sets free is free indeed) – and all the while selling ourselves, our people and our souls to an enemy whose mission is ‘get money.’

    In the book of Judges, Ch. 6:1-10 it reads, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. When the Israelites cried to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

    Deep in our hearts, we are so afraid of returning to that place of oppression, that we won’t cry out to God. Our souls are so boxed in from years of being told we’re “less than” that we hate ourselves and anything that looks like us. We won’t stop to let God affirm who we are, and seem to be outnumbered, and so have become complacent with falling in line to the beat of a drum that God is not holding. If we would just soldier up in the Lord, we’ll find it very easy to push the top off our box of struggle.

    Our power is evident in how our culture was, and still is very different from the ‘American Way.’ So much that it’s impacted the world! We fear so much, who we really are and the power God has placed in us to change the world, that we no longer stand up, but lay down in our mess. We believe that because we struggled for so many years, ‘America’ is supposed to “give” us something that God already gave us. We fear the power of God in us because once we acknowledge the power, we cannot deny God, and in acknowledging God, we must go to battle – for ourselves, for our people and for our souls. We have become weary in well doing, in fighting the good fight of faith, and won’t advance the Kingdom on earth/in America, as it pertains to our survival. We won’t seize the land that is rightfully ours ‘just’ because God said it is. We’ve settled for the crumbs of physical freedom and have become so spiritually, mentally and emotionally frustrated by it, we take it out on each other; wandering, whining, complaining, hiding, sexing, drugging, blinging and murdering in the wilderness. We still really don’t believe we measure up, and so we take bad credit and the Benz in exchange for true freedom – and so everything we create, we allow capitalism to take. If our culture can transcend the world’s boundaries, how much more can it reach if we remember the Lord our God who has given us the power to transcend?

    Joshua and the ‘Kids’ conquered six nations and thirty-one kings. They lost one battle because there was sin and disobedience in the camp. Joshua was so sold-out to his faith in God’s ability and obeying God’s command to take the land, that when God told him to snuff out the sin and destroy it, a man and his family were taken out of the camp and stoned to death. We need to get there…

    In my own life, I’ve decided to get back to the basic – Word – of – God. I said, ‘Vash, you either believe it or you don’t; and if you believe it, you have to believe ALL of it.’ That means not only believing in all the promises of God, but the commandments of holiness and obedience, faithfulness and love. The command to be courageous in Him and take what He said belongs to me.

    I believe the Word will tear down the walls that divide us Rev’. It is life – but we have to receive it right? Just like how God spoke a word to Joshua and the walls of Jericho dropped. Somehow, through all the savvy distractions of the modern world, we have to believe that’s the same God we pray to today.

    So you keep doing you, as God called you, and watch the people transform and transcend right before your eyes.

    “Genes undergo mutation when their DNA sequence changes.” (American Psychological Association (APA): genes. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genes)

    BTW – that camel is kinda’ fly. I might have to cop one… LOL!

    God bless you and keep it coming!

  2. Rev. Tony, I just finished reading a great book that may help Sis. White as she deals with the tragic loss of her son. The Promise: God’s Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts by Father Jonathan Morris.

    Also, please don’t forget your Ebenezer AME family as your are lifting DMV prayers in the Holyland. I too an expecting miracles 100-fold and know that I too will have overflow stories for you upon your safe return.

  3. Hello Pastor—

    I’m truly still right now…the image of you being baptized in the Jordan River, where John the Baptist baptized Jesus…,all you can say is WOW! After looking at the images of your journey, I dare to say the Lord is showing us that everyday is a good day to devote time of being still, to become immersed in HIS presence in love. Giving thanks to God for being in all we do, and we can rest, knowing that tomorrow is filled with glorious possiblities. —Continue to walk in Greatness! God Bless

  4. Praise God for your high tech testimony! Marble Collegiate Church in NYC is praying with you as you journey. May God be a fount of inspiration as you journey and a fence of protection for your whole delegation. God Bless Ya!!

  5. Hey Pastor. Thank you for sharing the pics as you go along this journey.

  6. What up Rev!! I am truly in awe of your pics and believe me catching the visual of how it must have been when Jesus was there! Thanks for keeping us connected! Now, you know I have to say something funny-when I saw the title of your journal entry, I must admit I went there-you know-“Working the walls, working the walls yeah!! Ok, back in the anointing. I wish you continued safe traveling mercies.

    God Bless,
    Sis. Courtney

  7. I am in complete Awe. Your journey is very inspirational to all of us! Being Baptized in the Jordan, those pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, giving us hope and prayer. The camel ride was cute…Cant go to the Holy Land without experiencing the Camel ride 🙂 Thanks for the prayers! I do have a testimony that speaks miracles. God has given me one more chance, just when I thought there was no possible way. He found a way! Praise God!

  8. WOW – Way to hold it down and represent for COH! I am so glad that the world can be a witness to your amazing trip. If there is no other testimony to give, it is simply this – look what a black man from Prince Georges County, MD can DO! All things are possible through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour!

  9. Pastor!!! Way to go! I know when you get back on this side of the world we are going to have a sure enough good time in the Lord! Continue to keep it real in the Holy Land! Wear your Shooters shirts! That is why the young folks love ya!
    Take care and we will continue to pray for safe travels. You are walking into your destiny, Pastor! Walk on!
    PS…That camel is looking a little short! LOL

  10. Pastor, this picture is such a blessing, and I can’t wait to receive the overflow as the anointing drops from you onto COH. Your blogs make me feel as if I am in Isreal. I pray that the Lord continue to bless you during this trip and to keep you safe. Love, the entire Harris Family (Jerry, Caprina & Khyle)


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