Community Columnists

KEEPING THE FAITH | When Jesus was on the cross, where was his family?

The Rev. Lewis Macklin
The Rev. Lewis Macklin

Have you ever noticed how much more “complicated” relationships can be with family and friends than with complete strangers? The answer is easy: There is no real labor or energy required to maintain something which lacks value to you!

Even Jesus can attest to that because He comes from a pretty large family.

Matthew 13:56: “Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all His sisters with us?”

By my count, He had four brothers and perhaps at least three sisters (if there had been only two, the word “both” would have been used instead of “all”) who are accepted as half-brothers and sisters.

He was a BIG BROTHER in every sense of the word! There was an occasion that His family (His mother and brothers) sought an audience and it was called to His attention.

Matthew 12:46: “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him.”

While you sense a degree of urgency on His family members, the purpose of why they needed Him was not shared (it was not our business anyway). His response seems dismissive as He says in response, while pointing to his disciples: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” If we said that to our own kinfolk would have made for a stress-filled family gathering!

So we know He has been in contact and relationship with the family at some point during His public years in ministry! Yet, as He hung on the Cross, the ONLY relative present at His feet was His mother whose own needs were remanded into the care of someone who was not related to them. The unanswered question: Where were His siblings at this gathering? Yet, please note there was another member of His family present — HIS FATHER with whom He entrusted His Spirit!

So don’t get distracted or fuel the situation with negativity when family matters seem like they are overwhelming and have the potential of dividing the unit. Simply follow the template of Christ! Keep loving them to LIFE, even if it has to be from a distance while embracing those who are available to offer healing and support as you place the matters in the hands of God!

Prayer for worship!

Pastor Willie Peterson, pastor of Youngstown’s NewBirth Kimmelbrook Baptist Church offered a prayer that connects people to heaven. He also asked others to join him in fasting with persistent prayer for personal holiness, inexplicable unity in our homes and in the house of the Lord. As we worship on the Lord’s day, may He bless you with His favor and use you for His glory in an extraordinary way!

Lord God, You are holy and enthroned in the praises of Israel and You inhabit our praises as well! Hallelujah! As your servants, we worship you today, because of who You are, and we praise You because of all You have done for us!

Thank you Lord, for Your blessed presence, peace, provision, prosperity and protection moment by moment in our pilgrimage on this planet! We confess our sin and ask that You cleanse and purge our hearts! Help us to manifest fruits of repentance so we can be vessels unto honor fit for the Master’s use! We desire to celebrate and worship You in spirit and in truth!

We submit to You all that we struggle with and the accompanying stresses underneath the skin, in the unseen realities of life! At times we get weary in the battle but it’s blessed to know that at Your divinely appointed time, You will lift the suffering and deliver us! You will never leave us nor forsake us! You will never leave us to take care of ourselves — PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME!

We pray that the Savior will be exalted, the saints will be edified, sinners will be evangelized and satan [sic] be horrified. Encourage us and give us endurance to run the race that YOU have set before us! Amen!

An update on local Martin Luther King Jr. Day events

Mahoning County

Due to the surge in coronavirus infections, the MLK Planning Committee has decided to host its upcoming events online.

Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle of Cleveland will be the worship preacher and workshop speaker. The worship service will be livestreamed on Facebook via the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee and New Bethel Baptist Church Facebook pages, however the workshop will not be livestreamed.

Annual Community Worship Service

Annual Community Workshop

Trumbull County

The Trumbull County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance will host a 6 p.m. worship service virtually on Sunday, Jan. 16 on its Facebook page. Rev. Jeff Stanford, pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Warren, will be the guest preacher. Special music will be rendered by Un1son. Rev. Joseph Walker serves as president of the sponsoring organization.

Warren’s Second Baptist Church and Pastor Todd Johnson will host The Wisdom of the Elders on Monday, Jan. 17 at 6:00pm virtually on the church’s Facebook page. The broadcast will feature a conversation with community pillars about our history and hope. Area ladies of legacy have been invited to share their experiences.

Unmute the Uncomfortable

A professional development symposium on racial justice, mental health awareness and suicide prevention will take place on Feb. 4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Eastwood Event Centre, 5577 Youngstown Warren Rd, Niles. The keynote speaker for this event is Kevin Richardson. Richardson, at age 14, was wrongfully convicted and served seven years in prison for a brutal crime in New York’s Central Park. His story is told in the Netflix mini-series “When They See Us.”

The event will also feature Laurese Glover, who with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project, had his case overturned in 2016 after being charged with a 1995 murder in Cleveland.

Other speakers include: Judge Carla Baldwin of Youngstown Municipal Court; James DeLucia of the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center; Ohio state Rep. Thomas West; attorney Pierce Reed of the Ohio Innocence Project; Dr. Doug Smith of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board; and Carmella Hill, clinical director of Coleman Health Services in Trumbull County.

Malik Mostella, community liaison for the Youngstown Police Department, will serve as emcee, and Carol Bennett, assistant provost of diversity at YSU, will moderate the interviews and panel discussion.

The symposium is a daylong event presented by Coleman Health Services in partnership with the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board. The cost is $100, which includes breakfast, lunch and continuing education credits available for a number of professions. Click here to register.

Get ready to takeoff

Although we are well into the New Year, I wanted to conclude this week’s thought with a motivating message that was shared by a friend:

“Good morning and welcome to Flight 2022. We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Positive Attitude and Gratitude are secured and locked in their upright positions. All self-destruct devices: pity, anger, selfishness, pride and resentment should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. Should you lose your Positive Attitude under Pressure during this flight, reach up and pull down a prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated, you can assist other passengers who are of little faith. There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight!”

GOD our captain, has cleared us for take-off. Destination: GREATNESS! I’m wishing you a New Year filled with new HOPE, new JOY and NEW BEGINNINGS! Stay blessed and welcome in 2022.


— The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department, president of the Baptist Pastors Council and the local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of six children and eight grandchildren and their mischievous canine, Sir Winston.

— All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.

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