Yes indeed, this is ‘the green season’
By Dr. William Scott
The articles in The Tidewater News (June 10, 2020) captured both the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the massive protest going on worldwide and in this country, have ushered in the new normal. While most of us don’t fully understand all the ramifications of the swift shift toward correcting the social ills of our country, four articles in this edition of our local paper clearly points to attitudinal changes that’s taking place here in Franklin.
My article briefly speaks to the new normal, but the two ‘Your Turn’ articles by Pastor Anthony Rawlings of Celebration Church of Franklin and Pastor Nathan Decker of High Street United Methodist Church, as well as the articles by the Rev. Dr. Charles Qualls, senior pastor of Franklin Baptist and the Rev. Scott Baker, rector at Emmanuel Episcopal in Franklin, garner much more attention.
The Rev. Rawlings says that ‘you’re a key part to standing up to injustice.’ He paints a crystal-clear picture of the tipping point that started the protest. He ends his article on a high note by urging us all to get on the right road that leads to equality and justice for all — these views are reflected in our Bill of Rights.
Dr. Qualls admonishes us to ‘put away your most troubling idol: Time.’ After all, we only have so much of it anyway. In fact, it was given to us by God Himself, so we ought to live it in ways that are pleasing to God, the giver. Dr. Qualls says start living in the community that most reflects Christ. He says to live in a healthier spiritual and interpersonal way that clearly fosters god-like character and qualities. Interpersonal suggests co-mingling with dissimilar ethnicities in Franklin, which builds trust and togetherness irrespective of color.
The Rev. Scott Baker reminds us that as we change from the white of Eastertide and the red of Pentecost and our Trinitarian God who sent to us His Comforter, we enter the discipleship season, the green season of growth, spiritual growth as we follow the ways of Christ. God is calling us all to a new reality where love, kindness, and fellowship abounds
“Yes, He calls us where we are, but He doesn’t leave us there for long,” says Rector Baker. God says to put new wine in new wineskins for it to ferment properly; putting it back into old wineskins will destroy the skin thus spilling the new precious wine. Rev. Baker didn’t say that, but it was implied.
Rev. Baker says it’s time to take the green season as a time to grow, a time to adopt some new and nourishing spiritual practices that will enable us to grow and flourish — we Franklinites have arrived at our precipice knowing that the steep social cliff, though difficult, must be climbed.
Pastor Nathan Decker gets right at/to the heart of protesters. He starts his short essay by questioning the very reason all 50 states have been protesting in the first place. His implication is that this country has been honoring and glorifying the Confederate states that fought to maintain slavery. His two adages reflect the fault in our reasoning, in our askew to acknowledge the truth. He says that we are in a revolutionary — the same revolution that resulted in the civil war — revisiting of our history.
“Stories that were hushed and silenced are now being brought to the forefront,” writes Decker. “One of the hardest lessons,” says the pastor, “is the reality that all of our heroes don’t deserve statues.” Those leaders who fought in the Civil War made a choice to fight for slavery, contrary to the principles upon which this country was established. He says, in powerful words, that history is not meant to be a statue but who we were, who we are and who we hope to be. That is why the Lord God decreed that we shouldn’t make graven images to worship. Pastor Decker concludes by saying that the ideas of love, liberty, freedom, equality and faith are too grand for a fresco. “… Tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things … My name is Ozymandias, king of kings; ….” (who we were!)
Rev. Baker is correct, absolutely correct! We are heading for a true green season of growth in Franklin. All four of these faith and worship leaders are speaking truth to power, the power of our ‘blind to color’ God, whom we people of faith worship.
There is additional evidence of “a true green season” fact in the county. Review the ‘Letter To The Editor’ by Frank M. Urquhart Jr., who says that in order to bring the truth of his family history and how they shaped Virginia’s future and how they now stand on the front line to bring FULL narrative to the injustice of the past and corrective efforts of the future. His closing remarks echoes the cries of the protesters nationwide: “We cannot stand by and watch those who have hijacked history to serve their racial motives, persist in those half-truths and injustices.”
Amen to the New ‘attitudinal change’ Normal!
DR. WILLIAM SCOTT is a guest columnist for The Tidewater News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.