January 19th & I pull up to close to the curb hitting my front right tire. My kid climbs to the back seat & grabs our umbrella. I place my purse out of sight & grab my ID, credit card, lip gloss & cash. It’s the day I’ve waited months for. The United Prayer March. My Pastor Arthur Breland was given the vision last year & today was finally the day to move forward. The street my church sits on is called United Ave, but not more than two months ago it was called Confederate Ave. Having the street name changed to represent the neighborhood was a battle. A battle won!
I walk into the elementary school cafeteria & I see people all around. A volunteer hands me a flyer which has the next upcoming events for One Race Movement & prayers to go forth over the neighborhood. I see some familiar faces & we exchange warm hugs. 10:00 am was the beginning of the worship service & I missed some of it but came in during the acknowledgment & prayer portion.
It’s around 10:45a & it’s time for the march! I’m handed gloves & a bag (I’m a guide & part of my task is picking up trash along the route of the journey). I tell my son if he picks up the most trash I’ll give him an ice cream from QT (something I’d soon regret as he told every kid they’d get ice cream if they picked up trash).
We started out walking fast & soon found a nice steady pace. Songs filled the air as we praised God down United Ave. Prayers sounded for unity, prosperity in schools, government, churches, and local businesses. A roar of hallelujah spread through the crowd. Brothers & sisters in Christ walked together united as a Body. As residents stepped out of their homes to see what was going on I waived & gave a “God Bless.” While talking with the Guide group team lead, I mentioned how picking up trash was humbling. At one time I was concerned I would miss the shine of the march because I was picking up trash, but now I found myself proud up contributing to serving the community.
Once we reached the church Pastor Arthur Breland began to speak. He then handed the mic over to a few other Pastors in the area. We pray & take communion as a Body of Christ. I see my son eating some of his communion cracker which I scold him for & give him ½ of mine. We begin to pray again & I feel a sense of oneness among the Body of Christ. A journalist with the AJC newspaper walks up to me, tells me she took a picture of me praying & if I’d mind giving my name? I give it to her & she asks why I came out? I give my reason & she thanks me & heads on her way. I begin to think about how grateful I am to be a witness & participant in the United Prayer March. It was my first time marching & I’m happy to have experienced it with my church family & son. In the past, I’ve wanted to join marches but would stay home instead. I cared about issues but not enough to honestly get involved. Over the last few months, the Lord has really been working on my heart with racial reconciliation, my own prejudices & taking action. As I’m #DyingDaily, I see that one voice indeed can make a difference & a whole body of people can make a thundering roar.
Sunday is the most segregated day of the week due to churchgoers. No day of the week should be segregated; especially Sunday. As Believers, we all serve, praise & honor the same God. He offers love to all & anyone. I pray that as I’m purged of ways within myself that are not like my Lord & Savior the actions & words which pour out of me bring glory to the Kingdom of God. People assume we can’t have peace, joy, love & acceptance until we reach heaven. Yet, we can have heaven right here on earth if we’d stop trying to behave in a way to get to heaven & behave as if we’re already there.