Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.”
1 Samuel 7:12
I drove across central Mississippi yesterday morning, crossing rivers overflowing their banks, gazing at the sparkling dew on the fields. I turned off the highway onto Galilee Road, then Harmony Road, past Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church, and to the Ebenezer Community Center, a rundown doublewide trailer in a field littered with beer cans and broken bottles.
Forty intercessors sat in a circle under a pavilion, a concrete slab with a roof of particle board. There was a hole in the particle board (?made by a baseball), and the sun streaming through it made a patch of light in the center of the circle.
We came together because we are witnessing a greater level of racism than we have seen in the last 20 years, and we did not want to lose the spiritual healing that has happened. Afro-American, Hispanic, Jewish, and Caucasian ethnic groups were represented. Several persons had some Native American ancestry. Intercessors came from all over the state of Mississippi (and a few from the Memphis area). Different denominations stood together as one body of Christ.
Invitations had been issued by relationship. There were no e-mail lists, political agendas, Power Point presentations, or name tags.
It was called a solemn day of prayer and fasting. Our prayer was that Mississippi would not become a flashpoint for racial violence.
My great-grandfather was a slave owner; he had beaten one slave to death. I confessed my heartbreak at the sins of my fathers and my own sins of racism. I added an armful of mimosa seed pods to the other symbolic representations in the center and prayed that the blood shed in racial hatred, crying out to God from the soil of Mississippi, would become the seeds of racial reconciliation.
The sounds of the shofars, the guitar strings, the testimonies, and the prayers flowed like living water. A cool breeze quickened and pulsed with the prophetic words. The presence of God suspended time, and the seven hours seemed a moment.
We human beings are but dust. It is a great marvel that the glory of God would choose to dwell within.