Building Louder: Raise Your Voice to Build God's Kingdom

Rick Beech | February 2, 2023

This is an adapted version of a guest sermon given by Rick Beech, Habitat Wake VP of Faith Relations, on January 29, 2023 at Pleasant Grove United Methodist. 


While on earth, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God more than anything else. The Kingdom that Jesus was announcing, however, was not the Kingdom that many were expecting. This Kingdom would not be about power, nationalism, or triumphalism. It would be a new way of being for all of humanity. It would be the Kingdom of love and humility.

Dr. King built on the power of the Kingdom of God when articulating the concept of the Beloved Community -- a community with justice, equal opportunity and love for all. The question for us is: what can we do to enable the Beloved Community—God's Kingdom of Love—to be realized today?

The lack of affordable housing is perhaps the most pressing issue facing our area. There is currently a shortage of 60,000 affordable housing units, with one out of four families in our community lacking affordable housing. This means that these families are paying more than 30% of their income for housing. This leaves less for health care, childcare, transportation, education, and any type of savings.

We now live in communities where many public servants can’t afford to live in the areas they serve. We also live in cities segregated by design. In the mid-1950s, using tools like red-lining and deed restrictions, Black families were steered to defined areas. At the same time, white families accessed housing programs, like VA loans, which my father received, which Black families could not access.  

As a result, we live in cities with vast income inequality. The homeownership rate for white families is 73% compared to 44% for Black families. The median net wealth for white families is $171,000 compared to only $17,000 for Black families.

In this context, how can we, like Jesus, bring good news to those held captive today? How can we Build a Beloved Community with housing justice, equal opportunity and love for all?

There are two general ways that we can work together to address this housing crisis and become Builders of a Beloved Community today.

Friends. Let’s be the people who love as boldly as Jesus loved. Like Jesus, let’s be People who truly see those on the margins of our society.

Let us hear the cries of those who have been shut out of homeownership for generations. And let’s bring them good news of down payment assistance programs and wealth-building tools.

Let us be people who hear the cries of families about to lose their housing due to escalating property taxes and rising rents. And let’s bring them good news of property tax relief and programs to help them stay in their homes.

When we pick up hammers and work with homebuyers to build good, affordable homes, we are Building the Beloved Community. When we claim the prophetic tradition of our faith and use our voices to help our brothers and sisters in need of affordable housing, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

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Rick Beech

VP, Faith Relations

Rick Beech founded Habitat Wake in 1985 as a seminary intern and returned in 2012 to direct Habitat Wake’s faith relations department. In the interim, Rick worked at Habitat International as a regional director and the director of their Faith Relations department. Rick is an ordained minister and has also served as an executive pastor and missions pastor. In addition to his work at Habitat Wake, he has served on the boards of Zoe Empowers and the UNC Wesley Foundation. Rick holds a BA in sociology from Mars Hill University and a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary.