Building the Beloved Community

April 22, 2024

Reflection presented at the kick-off ceremony for the Spring Flowers Place Faith Build on February 24, 2024. Written by: Rev. Asa Bell, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

Good morning. It is wonderful to see so many who have joined together to fulfil a vision cast many decades ago. The vision was for this society to be a place where everyone would share in the wealth of the earth. Where poverty, hunger, and homelessness would not be tolerated because international standards of human decency would not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice would be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sister and brotherhood.

Pastor Asa Bell
Rev. Asa Bell, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

The vision, as cast by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was of a community driven by love, agape love. Dr King distinguished Agape love from eros or romantic love and philia or love between friends. Agape love is “understanding, redeeming goodwill for all.” It is “overflowing love”. It is the love of God operating in the human heart. It doesn’t discriminate between worthy and unworthy people. It begins by loving others for their sakes. Agape is love which seeks to preserve and create community, the beloved community.

Community is built one act, one word, one nail at a time and we can demonstrate our commitment to continuing to bring the vision of the beloved community to past by joining in advocacy for affordable housing and by driving nails of hope and love and compassion into the walls that will rise at Spring Flowers place. There is a pledge card that you have been given that asks for us to pledge our commitment to building the beloved community and a picture will be taken after the ceremony of this committed team. As members of the faith community, we know that except when the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord empowers us, our efforts will be futile.

So, I am asking that we join in prayer, seeking God’s power and presence in us and through us as we begin this kingdom work.


Prayer for the Beloved Community

Call: God, you fill the entire world with your loving presence.
Response: May we be so immersed in your Love, that we and our community are transformed.

Call: Our community has an affordable housing crisis, that burdens many families.
Response: We know you hear their cries.

Call: Many of your children can’t afford to live here.
Response: Embolden us to keep working until EVERYONE has quality affordable housing.

Call: Loving Creator, we live in a community scarred by extremes of wealth and poverty and divided by race, faith, and cultural issues.
Response: We know that this is not your design.

Call: Empower us to build your Kingdom on earth, your Beloved Community.
Response: With justice, equal opportunity, and love for all.

Call: Guide us as we work with our elected officials to ensure everything is being done to address this affordable housing crisis.
Response: Give us your voice so that we may speak with those in need of affordable housing. Call: Transform us into your people. Response: Builders of the Beloved Community. AMEN!