“Transfiguration” by Alexandr Ivanov, 1824. Public Domain.
Gospel Lesson Mark 9:2-9
2Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus. 9As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
The Transfiguration story in Mark tells the story of Jesus' ascent of a mountain in the company of his three closest disciples. We know that Peter, James, and John are close to Jesus because they are the only disciples Jesus gives nicknames. Jesus calls Simon "Peter," originally meaning "rock or pebble." Jesus nicknames the brothers James and John "Boanerges," meaning "Sons of Thunder." Scholars assume that they were likely loud or rowdy guys, and in some cultures, today, the name "Boanerges" is still used as a nickname of loud and charismatic preachers.
At the top of the mountain, Jesus' physical appearance is changed, metamorphosing into incandescent light, a light that blazes from his face and clothing. Two of the greatest (long-dead) prophets of Israel's past appear beside him, conversing with him. The disciples, meanwhile, are over-awed at the spectacle and respond with incomprehension and bewilderment. Even the Sons of Thunder are silent. Peter, perhaps not knowing what to do with such a situation, proposes to erect three tents or shrines to house Jesus and these impossible visitors.
Fortunately, a cloud intervenes, overshadowing the heavenly figures, and a voice speaks from the cloud, declaring Jesus to be the beloved Son. The voice in the cloud also states that it would do the disciples of Jesus well to listen to him. Then the miraculous signs recede, and Jesus is left alone to descend the mountain with his bemused disciples.
Today's story is a bizarre story even for the Bible. Maybe we assume that it's bizarre because it was written by a different culture nearly two millennia ago, but the reality is, the first readers of this story would have thought it was weird too. Things do not start glowing, let alone people. Clouds do not talk, and long-dead prophets do not come back from the dead.
It's a weird story, and it even has a bizarre name: "The Transfiguration." A formal definition states that Transfiguration is "a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state."
We could make the argument that transfigurations happen around us (consider how caterpillars turn into butterflies or how little dirty bulbs produce wonderful lilies). Still, we don't use the word to describe these processes. And while this is an annual story in the life of the church, a story told from one of the gospels each year the Sunday before the beginning of Lent, it remains a neglected story, at least in the West. Biblical scholar Dorothy Lee notes:
For the most part, post-Enlightenment biblical scholars have shown little interest in the Transfiguration, minimizing its theological status. If anything, biblical studies has tended to 'experience the story as alien' and to 'rationalize this strangeness' (2004, 1,2).
Likely we've neglected this story because it is such a strange one, and we wonder how it might make any difference in our lives if we tell it again. We live in a time that is uncomfortable with transcendence and mystery, in a time that is not very comfortable merely being in the state of wonder. Perhaps it is because our world feels less certain these days, more anxiety-producing, more frightening even without a global pandemic taking place. And we might choose to turn to religion to find firm foundations, guiding principles, and a moral code to organize life around.
I sometimes feel this way. I can get behind Jesus' teachings, even if they are sometimes challenging. Jesus was a wise teacher who used various methods to bring insight, love, and justice into the world. He seemed to regularly bring to light the case of the marginalized, the underdog, and the pitied. And he worked to subvert abusive political, cultural, and domestic power to make positive change happen.
I can also get behind his death. Jesus was killed by Rome as a political rebel sometime in the first century. In his death, I see humanity's tendencies to perpetrate violence on those that challenge power and advocate for loving, accountable, and inclusive communities.
Even in the resurrection story, I hear a call for hope that violence and death cannot stop love and justice. But here we have the Transfiguration. It still feels like an outlier.
I wonder if we might approach this story from the point of being in awe. When were you last in awe? When did you experience something so incredible and so good that you were either stunned to silence like our Sons of Thunder or just began blabbering like Peter in our story? Close your eyes and try to relive it. What were your surroundings like? What time of year was it? Who was there? If something was said, what was it? Perhaps it was an experience in nature or with someone or some folks very close to you. Maybe it was good news, something that provided a reminder that there is still so much good in the world. Consider those feelings and those experiences and think about how much time you spent trying to figure out the meaning of those events, why you were in awe, why you found relief, why you were uplifted.
I remember going to the Grand Canyon a few years ago. I don't think I've ever said "wow" more in my life. And when my mind returns to that visit, I still have a hard time thinking about it without saying "wow" because I still lack the words for it.
I wonder if God provides these glimpses of grace as a way of encouragement or challenging us to think bigger. Vincent Van Gogh once said, "For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." And perhaps, in our story, more than anything else, these three disciples needed to see that Jesus was more than a wandering itinerant preacher and healer. Maybe they needed to see that their world needed more than someone who could cleanse the occasional leper or feed a few thousand people, as excellent and necessary as these things were. Perhaps for people of faith, the Transfiguration reminds us that we need more than just a good moral religion or a place that offers support and comfort in times of trouble. We need something that provides a far grander vision with a more significant impact on this world. The Transfiguration asks us to look at the sight of stars and dream.
Our faith is more than comfort in times of distress, a moral compass, and a hope of healing. Our faith is more than a prophetic word, a faithful charity, and a steward of all that is sacred. Our faith is more than a call to justice, a way to fight for the oppressed, and an invitation to love. We cannot limit where our faith speaks and heals, and transforms. This caution for us comes from Peter. And we've had this caution now two weeks in a row. Last week, Jesus began healing folks in Capernaum, Peter's hometown. When Jesus goes away, Peter hunts him down in the hopes of bringing him back to town where he can serve as the local physician. But Jesus resists that notion and tells Peter that he must travel around to do this work in other places. Likewise, on the Mountain, Peter offers to build shrines for Jesus and the resurrected prophets of old. A shrine, a place set apart as holy, a place one can visit from time to time, a place not part of everyday life. Again, Jesus (or the cloud in this case, or the silence) resists this notion.
The work of God in this world wants to resist our need to categorize it or contain it. It defies our need to locate it on a map and leave it there. Our story should cause us to wonder what shrines we have erected throughout the centuries to bottle faith, to set its boundaries. Because a faith that is bigger than our imaginations, present in all places and in all times, working in ways we've yet to consider is a little scary, even demanding.
Our incredible story gives us pause on the eve of the Season of Lent. It asks us to consider breaking down our expectations and customs that we follow this season if they impede God's work in the world, in our lives. And it calls us to imagine what God is doing in this world in new ways, awe-inspiring ways, ways that leave us speechless or babbling.
May we resist our desire to bottle faith and instead allow ourselves to imagine what's possible with a God that never ceases to bring the awe. Amen.
“Amulet Carved in Intaglio” Coptic, 6th-7th century. This amulet identifies the one being healed as the
Woman with the Issue of Blood from Mark 5:25-34. This amulet was carved from hematite, which was
believed to stop the flow of blood. Public Domain.
Gospel Lesson Mark 1:29-39 “Jesus Heals Many at Simon’s House & a Preaching Tour in Galilee”
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ 38He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
“Necessary & Sufficient”
The beginnings of each of our four gospels are quite different. Matthew begins with a detailed genealogy that traces Jesus’ lineage back to the patriarch Abraham. Luke starts with angelic visitors announcing the impending births of John and Jesus. John’s gospel begins in the heavens with the origins of the cosmos and the incarnation of God’s divine logos.
We are in “Year B” of the three-year lectionary cycle, which means most of our gospel readings in 2021 will come from Mark. Mark’s gospel is my favorite version of Jesus’ story, and I love how it hits the ground running.
In chapter one, John the Baptizer has been introduced, Jesus has been baptized and tempted in the wilderness, John has been arrested, Jesus has begun his preaching tour in Galilee, has called his first disciples, and healed the troubled. It takes Matthew and Luke four chapters to get to this part of the story.
Like last week’s gospel lesson, we read about a topic that rings awkwardly in our ears: demon possession and Jesus’ work to cast out demons. In the prescientific age of our gospels, physical and mental maladies were also considered spiritual maladies. Demon possession could be ascribed to folks suffering from any ailment whose origins couldn’t be discerned. People in the gospels and other literature at the time receive the label “demon-possessed” when today they might be diagnosed with anything from schizophrenia to the common cold. What we can gather from these gospel stories about Jesus casting out demons is that he was a general practitioner of sorts when it came to his healing ministry. People came to him with a wide range of illnesses and issues, and Jesus treated them all.
In today’s lesson, it is the Sabbath, and Jesus and his early followers have just left the local house of worship and planned to have a nice Saturday lunch together at Simon Peter’s home nearby. But when they arrive, they find Simon’s mother-in-law sick with a fever. The original Greek here suggests that the illness was significant.
We don’t get a lot of information about this woman. She is likely a widow, the reason for being in her son-in-law’s household. We might remember too that fevers and the infections that bring on fevers in the pre-antibiotic world were potentially severe, life-threatening events. A fever could readily cause death and could also spread to others in the household.
On a side note, it’s interesting to think about how this passage has been read throughout the centuries. This passage meant something very different to anyone that heard it before the 1920s. It’s only within the last 100 years or so, since the invention of penicillin, that readers would have read about this woman’s illness and thought it wasn’t a big deal.
In our story, Jesus gives his hand to Peter’s mother-in-law, and the fever left her, language used by Mark to also describe the casting out of demons. The illness resolves so quickly that she begins serving her company.
We might sneer at this story a little because it seems that Jesus heals the woman only so she can perform one of the duties assigned to the women of her day; to serve men supper. And our sneering is reasonable. This passage has a hard time escaping the patriarchy of its time and culture, even to the point of forgetting to give this woman a name.
It is interesting of note, however, that Mark has a particular use of the Greek verb diakone,w, a word transliterated as “deacon” in English and used in an elevated and official way in the church of folks that take care of physical and spiritual well-being of a faith community. Mark's author is very careful with this word and only uses it when referring to what Jesus, angels, and the women around Jesus do. The author seems to treat the act of serving others as something virtuous and heavenly, something that Jesus, the women around him, and angels fully understand and do, and something his male disciples fail to grasp until after his death. Here, the word is used for Peter’s mother as she serves Jesus and his companions, marking her as a model for the official church office.
The Sabbath ended Saturday at sundown, and the story transitions to Jesus curing the town’s sick and troubled people well into the night.
Early the next morning, Jesus wanders off to a quiet place to pray. This happens a lot in the gospel of Mark. Jesus disappears for a while until his disciples track him down.
Jesus then reiterates his purpose to proclaim the message broadly and heal folks in other towns.
This is the brief introduction to the work of Jesus in Mark's gospel. In the first chapter of Mark, he is a traveling physician, a man of faith, a religious scholar of sorts, but mainly a person that heals failing bodies and brings back the troubled, so they are no longer living on the margins. There’s something holistic to his work that defies easy labels like wandering sage, itinerate preacher, country doctor, or revolutionary leader. When it seems that his ministry is being defined only by these characteristics, like the “country doctor” label here, he heads off to a quiet place, finds his purpose and center through prayer, and restates it to his disciples.
It’s valuable for us to reflect on how Jesus holds the physical, spiritual, and social aspects of his divine vocation in tension and how he intentionally takes time to balance his work. Like Jesus, the church has been called to holistic work, which involves ministering to the physical, spiritual, and social needs of individuals and communities. Without reflection, prayer, and discernment, we might begin to focus on only some aspects of the church’s holistic vocation.
What is the church to you? How do you think of the church as a larger concept, like when we say, “the church?” Further, what is the purpose of our local church? Christian ethicist Erin Dufault-Hunter says that we can fall into a fallacy when we focus only on some aspects of what the church can be. She writes that “Some [want us to focus only on meeting] physical needs such as food and shelter, others on spiritual ones such as prayer or counseling, still others on teaching or preaching.” These areas of focus are noble and necessary but not sufficient for what the church is called to do and be.
Our spiritual lives provide faith, hope, and a reason to love. Faith, hope, and love are our greatest motivators, but they can also be fragile. The church works to nourish those parts of our lives and heal us when our faith, hope, or love is broken.
But that’s not all we do. James’s letter in our Epistles pushes back on the work of the church only being about spiritual matters:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. (James 2:14-17).
Our lives of service are expressions of our faith and hope and a sign of God’s love for all creation. Like Jesus, our work is about healing broken and unattended bodies. That’s why churches worldwide and throughout time have worked to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and house the homeless.
But the work isn’t done. We need community, and we all need a just and loving society. In other words, we cannot sufficiently live out our faith with our prayers and donations. We must also work to make healthy communities possible. As an old pastor mentor once put it, if we are working tirelessly to pull people out of the raging river of life, perhaps we should walk upstream, see what’s causing so many people to fall in, and fix that broken bridge or crumbling bank. Our commitment to community and social justice allows us to imagine a world closer to God, where all life has dignity, and all places in creation are sacred. This is done by working directly in our communities to address systemic poverty, environmental degradation, institutional racism, and other injustices that distort God’s desire for this world.
As we will find in 2021, Mark’s gospel is a little hard on Jesus’ male followers. Mostly they don’t get what Jesus is trying to do. Often, like in today’s passage, they want to limit Jesus to necessary work, to that of a country doctor, or a revolutionary, or a holy man. They fail to see over and over again the holistic approach Jesus takes to make lasting change. In this way, they serve us well whenever we compartmentalize our faith or think too narrowly about the work of the church. They point to something very human in all of us as we encounter Christ. And we read on as they learn too, little by little.
May our faith and our actions be both necessary and sufficient this week. May we draw closer to God, serve our neighbors, and find ways to be in a healthy community, even during this pandemic. For the sake of all creation and the sake of God. Amen.
The Quote from Erin Dufault-Hunter, is found in Connections A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship. Edited by Joel B. Green, Joel D. et al. Westminster John Knox Press; Louisville, p. 243).
“Moses Shown the Promised Land” by Benjamin West, 1801. On view at the Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 753. Public Domain.
Lesson from the Hebrew Bible Deuteronomy 18:15-20 “A New Prophet Like Moses”
15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. 16This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: ‘If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.’ 17Then the Lord replied to me: ‘They are right in what they have said. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.19Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.’
Sunday Homily “Transitions”
The book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book in our Bible and the last book in the Jewish Torah. Its name comes to us from the Greek Deuteronominon, meaning “second law” because it retells the law code and stories found earlier in the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus.
Deuteronomy retells the law and these valued stories uniquely, though. It frames the ancient law code in the context of Moses’ farewell address. We can think of this book as the last few sermons Moses gives to the Hebrew people during a time of transition. Moses is old and about to die. The people stand on the border of the promised land, about to transition from a culture of tribal nomadic wanderers to a settled, agrarian culture. Interspersed between the many laws and ordinances in these sermons are Moses’ recollections of important events and an exhortation to follow new leaders when he is gone.
You might remember how this story begins. During the Life of the Patriarchs, a famine hits the ancient near east, and the descendants of Abraham and Sarah travel as refugees to Egypt when crops fail and pastureland dries up. They are greeted warmly, but over time, these people, called the Hebrews, are enslaved by Egypt. At some point, God commissions Moses and his brother Aaron to lead the Hebrew people out of Slavery. Several tense conversations with the Pharaoh ensue, and ten plagues later, the Hebrew people are released from their chains.
The company travels east, eventually making it to Mount Horeb. There Moses leaves the people and spends 40 days and nights on the mountain conversing with God. When he returns, Deuteronomy chapter 5 describes a vexing scene: God proclaims the ten commandments to the Hebrew people as a disembodied voice booming out of pillars of fire, storm clouds, and thick darkness. This experience, a direct encounter with God, is too much for this community of newly liberated people, so they ask Moses to serve as a mediator between them and God. Moses gains a handful of titles from the role, a man of God, a minister of God, and a prophet of God.
The Hebrews continue to live a nomadic life for 40 years or so after experiencing the unfiltered presence of Divinity. Moses serves as their leader in the wilderness, developing a law code, interceding with God when the people are in trouble, and preparing them for entry into the promised land. But he will not make the final journey, and the people will need to trust a new generation of leaders.
To mark this transition, Moses delivers a rather long and wide-ranging sermon about how to be God’s people in this new land, living in this new way. As such, this book has been described as the “preached law” or the Law of God applied to life – that is, the life of an ancient agrarian people. There’s some pretty weird stuff in this book - regulations for clean and unclean foods, tithing, the redeeming of firstborn livestock, restrictions about having too many measuring cups.
And there’s some gruesome stuff in the book that reminds us that this book was written a long time ago in a violent world. It’s worth a read, though, because, at its heart, the book proclaims a rather radical way of life that is concerned with social justice and obedience to God. Some of the most beautiful agrarian and ecological language of our Scriptures comes from this book, along with a recurring theme that the land will be plentiful if God’s people take care of it and do good to one another.
In chapter 18, Moses is concerned that once the people enter this new land, without him, they will forget their leaders and instead follow the loudest voice in town. Specifically, he is worried that the people will begin to practice a handful of local Canaanite religions that used child sacrifice to appease the gods.
Moses reassures the Hebrews that God will raise up another leader, a prophet from their ranks, once he is gone. This person will serve as their leader and continue to mediate between God and the people. Moses notes that there will be folks pretending to be prophets of God, but the people can tell if they are prophets of God only if they speak the truth.
Clearly, a lot is happening in this short passage. The people need a new leader that can mediate between them and God. Truth-telling is the primary attribute ascribed to prophets of God. And, the community faces a series of difficult transitions.
Transitions are difficult. According to the American Institute of Stress, some of the top stressful life events are transitional events that include the death of a loved one, divorce or the end of a valued relationship, injury, illness, and career change. Social or political stresses include some obvious ones like war, famine, corruption, poverty, and incidents of mass violence. And some that hit a little closer to home might be the transitions of leadership in a family, town, or company, down-sizing, the loss of benefits, and the continued uncertainty around the pandemic.
There’s a body of literature and self-help information that can guide us through these moments of uncertainty, change, and transition during stressful times. And some are very good. The Chopra Center talks about getting rest, surrendering control, and acknowledging that every end is also a beginning. An article by Paige Smith talks about managing political stress by identifying your triggers, being proactive, and prioritizing what you can do to change a situation.
In our story, the leader of the Hebrew people acknowledges that his time is over, and the people are worried. So, what’s next?
There are some beautiful ideas in our passage, too, about navigating stressful times. First, Moses reassures God’s people that God will continue to provide new leaders for generations to come. Our scriptures give the command “do not be afraid” about 70 times, and the idea of combating fear is an integral part of this story. Here, Moses provides people with hope that they will have good leaders and prophets in the future, prophets like him, leaders who speak the words of God and lead the people to new ways of faithfulness.
It’s important to notice, though, that these words of consolation are about as far as Moses is willing to go when it comes to providing comfort during a transitional time. God calls prophets, after all, and prophetic leaders have a difficult challenge. They are called to speak the uncomfortable word. In progressive and mainline Christian traditions, the term “prophetic” is used a lot, but it isn’t often explained. Essentially, the term is applied to people who speak a difficult truth, one that is often resisted by the wealthy, or the powerful, or those of us that wish to live our lives in peace and quiet. Often prophetic leaders speak about the oppressed, the disenfranchised, or the marginalized. They advocate for the environment, children and women, undocumented people, and those who have lost their healthcare or jobs. Today, these folks are pastors or religious leaders, but not always; in fact, most are not.
We can think back to that part in the story when the Hebrew people encounter God's raw presence at Mount Horeb. God was too much for the people. But it probably wasn’t because of the booming voice and fire and storm and darkness. The people were overwhelmed because the word of God, what God calls humanity to do and be, is really hard and challenging. How can we be loving, and just, and humble, and truthful, and inclusive, and kind, and encouraging, and real, and merciful, and forgiving, and courageous, and hard-working, and faithful, and creative, and honest, and accountable, and supportive, and persistent, and all of those other virtues that we hold as being vital for healthy human flourishing? We experience what the Hebrew people experienced when the presence of God and the overflowing of God’s goodness and its demand on our lives is too much; we can’t take it all in and wouldn’t even know where to start.
Perhaps that’s why God continues to call prophets, people that experience some part of God's great goodness and help us, even call us to be faithful in tangible ways. These prophets are often not terribly popular or well-known because they tell the truth, even when that truth is vexing, inconvenient, and heavy. What’s more, they call on us to make changes, to transition from one way of thinking and being to another, better way of thinking and being.
Who are our modern-day prophets? Who speaks the truth, especially the uncomfortable truths that challenge us and stretch us? Perhaps we can call Rev. William Barber of North Carolina a real prophet. For the last twenty years, Rev. Barber has worked in tangible, grassroots ways for a moral revival to end the injustices of systemic poverty, mass incarceration, and other inequalities based on race, sex, ability, orientation, and class. Recently he challenged President Biden’s focus on unity, saying:
It cannot be just kumbaya. It has to be fundamental change. We cannot be the wealthiest nation in the world, where billionaires in this country made a trillion dollars between May and November during COVID, while poor and low-wealth people of every race, creed, color, sexuality have suffered and continue to suffer.
There are other prophets as well. Perhaps Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry are prophets – two people who call on us to live more closely to the land and take less.
Perhaps Naomi Klein is a modern-day prophet, one that calls us to push back on unchecked materialism and its corrosive role in our democracy.
Perhaps Gabe Brown and Mark Shepard are God’s prophets because they point out the destructive realities of our modern agricultural practices and provide realistic alternatives to factory farming, monoculture planting, and the overuse of harmful chemicals.
God continues to call prophets, people that we may never be entirely comfortable around because they call us to be better, to live closer to God’s will in direct, tangible ways. We all have these folks in our lives, people whose words stretch us because their words are true, but truth hurts, especially those truths that hit our prejudices, our rhythms of life, our pocketbooks.
Our faith can provide comfort. Our faith can provide a community of support that helps us through life’s many transitions, losses, and changes. I am thankful for this community that continues to find ways to support one another during this pandemic when every day is both Groundhog Day and something new and horrific. But our faith (our faith) is supposed to be challenging too, even in challenging times like these.
This week, I pray that we challenge ourselves a bit. What issue are we avoiding, what relationship are we ducking, what New Year’s resolution have we already given up? How might we heed the call of our prophets to live better lives and make life better for those around us?
May God bless us in our exploration. For the sake of the whole world. Amen.
Notes Paige Smith’s article about managing political stress can be found at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/political-stress-how-to- help_n_59495dcce4b08709c82fd85e?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&gu ce_referrer_sig=AQAAADCBIX2wsM39SUTEFfDpsSebYqkJR-Z0UWoHR6KWIckcmRPXEwulbk43PvVR- BxqaZaMPr5DcEgN54PBSxVM3u422FbqvaLGy10fX4JSsHZkJEcf-j4rK1POLA0d8utrPB8qhpMpz5sN1Q6Od0P4Of- G2Aho7YW3McrI0E9AkzjA. Rev. William Barber’s quote about unity and change can be found at: https://www.democracynow.org/2021/1/25/rev_william_barber_covid_inequality.