Come together as one

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 1:56 p.m.
Parishioners attending Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church on Sunday to take part in the church's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration were urged to stick together and help one another.
Member Mike Powers presided over the occasion, and his first order of business was to dedicate a song to members of the church, located at 501 NE 15th St.
The song was "When it is Not Your Time, it is Not Your Time," and as it played, Powers walked around hugging the mothers of the church, the members of the choir and others in the congregation.
Powers then urged parishioners to do something that is customary at Mount Olive - fellowship with each other for a few minutes. People hugged one another and shook hands as the choir sang, "I'm Still Here."
During the devotional phase of the service, the church's pastor, the Rev. James Baker, was overcome with emotion as he danced around in and praised the name of Jesus.
"I got a right to praise his name," Baker said. "I don't know about you, but I got the right. My, my, my. I don't want you to look crazy today, but God has been too good to me for me to sit down.
"How many of you know that he is alright today. He is good today."
As the choir and congregation finished singing "Cooling Water," the church was filled with spiritual energy.
"It's hard to stop when the Holy Ghost is in place," said Baker, as he danced down the aisles.
Baker talked about a car accident he had years ago that paralyzed him momentarily, and how he recovered from it miraculously. He said he told his mother to just let him sit for a while, as he started calling on Jesus. He said he got a little feeling in his left leg, and then in his right leg.
"I've been walking and running for Jesus Christ ever since," Baker said.
The church then listened to excerpts from some of Dr. King's speeches, and heard a word from Alachua County Commissioner Rodney Long, who also is the founder and president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc.
Long said King told the sanitation workers in Memphis the night before he died that he knew he wouldn't be around much longer. Long said King knew that one day his people would get where they need to be, and that he would not be there to see it.
Long then said contrary to what a lot of people might believe, blacks have not reached the "promised land" yet.
"There is a lot of work to be done in this community and across America," Long said. "It is going to take the young people to get the job done, and we are going to have to teach them."
Long said it is time to sit at the table as a family and discuss issues of today.
The Rev. Milford L. Griner, president of the Alachua County Ministerial Alliance, delivered the sermon.
"It's good to ask the Lord to hold our hands, because we can't make it by ourselves," Griner said.
Griner said he was pleased with the introduction Mount Olive church member and Alachua County School Board member Janie Williams gave him, but he said he was disappointed with one thing.
"She didn't mention that I was a graduate of the University of Jesus Christ," Griner said. "For those of you who don't know, it can be found on Church Street and Hallelujah Avenue.
"It is a joy to be in a church where there is so much spirit," said Griner, adding that he has been in some churches and couldn't tell if he was in church or a doctor's office.
Griner said he patterns his life after Dr. King's life, and that he tries to do the things in the community that Dr. King did.
His sermon came from Romans 15:1-7. It was titled, "Together as One."
"Unity is the theme because there is too much division in our community," Griner said. "There is division that should not be in place. Our differences are not as important as our similarities.
"In joy as well as sorrow, we are one. Paul wrote to the Romans advising them that the strong must help the weak. We have to get out of the mentality that I have mine, and you better get yours. You have yours because of the blessings of God.
"We seem to be too busy to clothe the naked, house the homeless and feed the hungry," he said.
Griner said it is good to be a blessing to someone else.
"When we reach out to our brothers and sisters, God will bless us because we have been a blessing to someone else," he said. "There is more that unite us than divide us. This is the essence of what King talked about the most. We are all level at the foot of the cross.
"It doesn't matter to Jesus what you have materially."
Griner said petty grievances should be set aside. "Love your enemy," he said. "This nation will continue to crumble if we don't come together as one with that bonding agent called love."
Church School is at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays, followed by worship service at 11 a.m. Prayer Meeting/Bible Study is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and youth meetings are at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

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