When you arrive at 18th and Baynard on Saturday morning to attend the Freedom Forum, you will cross clear, clean, and safe sidewalks because a set of hands shoveled and salted. You will pass through doors adorned with bright fliers produced by gifted and creative minds. Once inside you will receive a program from a cheerful greeter that other sets of hands created and copied.
In the Church School Hall you will sit on a chair that was likely transported from some remote corner of the building; gnash on treats that have been prepared, transported, and served with loving grace and care; listen to inspired voices through a sound system that took days to finagle and set up; and admire the surroundings that were carefully planned and arranged. And when it’s all over, even more hands will clean up, break down, and rearrange.
Like any important and meaningful gathering, The Freedom Forum is the culmination of months of planning, coordination, and hands-on work by a legion of people each doing their part. It will be another signature event where we share our passion for learning and action with the world. There may be no moment that better illustrates our commitment to justice, our reverence for diversity, and our gift of hospitality.
This gathering is Biblical. This is exactly what Paul wrote about (1 Corinthians 12), which is what he learned from Jesus: the body of Christ is at its best when all of its parts serve with common purpose, working for the common good.
One more thought (that I confess occurred to me only today). Like our Forum, freedom itself is only ever realized in community, for nobody – and no body – is free if even one part is denied.