By Kevin Daniels, Special to the AFRO

Most of the country is pausing this particular week to celebrate the annual holiday of Easter, which many deem as the sacrificial heroic life and death of Jesus Christ for the world.

However, according to a recent poll, well over 62% of Americans believe that not only is there a lack of optimism but feel that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The reasons given were the lack of moral leadership in public office, ongoing peril of racial and wealth inequities, lack of global respect for America in the area of national security, recent school shootings and the March for Life to impact gun laws, the #MeToo movement surrounding the abuse of women, unfinished DACA/ immigration disparities and  health care uncertainties.

Kevin Daniels (Courtesy Photo)

All of these challenges on the heels of the 50th Anniversary of the sacrificial death and heroic life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Subsequently, leaving many to ponder like the prophetic voice of the Psalmist, “How shall we still sing (celebrate) in a strange (unusual) land?”

The prophetic overtures of the sacrificial and heroic life of Jesus Christ continue to give us luminous light and example even in the midst of what is considered a dark and flagrant timeframe.  The kind of example that mimics his prophetic compliance to something higher as seen in his passionate journey through the Via Dolorosa during the events of that week, which includes: “His passion in cursing of the fig tree,” which represents a symbolism that regardless of what timeframe it is, we still should be productive in cutting down unproductive fruit;  “His passion in calling out the leaders of his day by calling them “blind guides,” in which he calls them to a justice construct to work “for” the people and not “against” the people; “his passionate discernment in knowing how to find solace in the collective body of supporters at Bethany,” in which, he calls for us to unify ourselves in times of great distress and upheaval;  “his passion in finding an upper room to spiritually commune with God,” in which, he calls for us to reflect and contemplate the cost of greatness; and lastly, “the passion of navigating betrayal and the renewing of life” again (resurrection), in which he calls us to “rise up” to a commitment and a consistency to all that pertains to living life to the fullest.

To that end, our call today, during Easter (resurrection) celebration continues to be as triumphant and transformative as it was then during unusual and sporadic times that our passion and sacrificial journey force us to “rise up”.  Lastly, in the poetic words of the great legacy of Maya Angelou, who stated that “You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies, you may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like the dust, I’ll rise”; and in the lyric words of Andra Day, “I’ll rise up, and I’ll do it a thousand times again.”

Dr. Kevin Daniels is a professor at Morgan State University, Chair of the Civic Action Committee for the Minister’s Conference of Baltimore and pastor at St. Martin Church in Baltimore.