Do It This Way

 

 

Pastor Clarence Jordan showed us how.

In November 1942 he and Martin England, a Baptist missionary to Burma, placed a $2,500 down payment on a run-down farm eight miles southwest of Americus, Georgia. They named the scarred and eroded acres Koinonia Farm and began living the Sermon on the Mount as they worked to turn their purchase into a place guided by Jesus’ message in Matthew 5-7.

As a doctoral student in Greek at Louisville Seminary, Jordan did not just read the words of Jesus, but he began to use them as his guide for living each day. It was his firm  belief in those words that guided him to begin Koinonia Farm as a place for justice and equality during the days of a world war, the Ku Klux Klan, Senator Joe McCarthy, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, civil rights struggles, and more. His world, like ours, was divided. However, he remained loyal to the best sermon ever spoken and withstood attacks by the KKK and harassment by the FBI and local churches. In fact, because he brought a black man to a Christmas Eve service at his own Baptist church, the church told him not to return.

Pastor Jordan lived the words of Matthew 5:44 that tell us to love our enemies and at Koinonia Farm he showed us that it is not only possible, but better for us, to follow the Sermon on the Mount.

Koinonia Farm still operates today, and many scrumptious food items may be ordered from its website. I recommend Clarence Jordan, Essential Writings, edited by Joyce Hollyday, (Orbis publication) as a good primer on this man who showed us how to live during difficult times.

 

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