A former Disciples moderator and current pastor of Loudon Avenue Christian Church in Roanoke, Virginia challenged Disciples to adopt a “by whatever means necessary” mentality during a service of prayer and healing for those living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers. Rev. William L. “Bill” Lee was the featured speaker for the special Sunday morning worship service at the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) convening in Nashville.
Referencing a phrase attributed to Malcolm X by way of French intellectual Jean Paul Sarte in his play “Dirty Hands, Lee said “I believe that this church and every church needs to adopt a ‘by any means necessary‘ motto. Lee says “you do what you gotta do when you have a ‘by any means necessary‘ mentality. The church needs this kind of mentality.”
Lee’s message was based on Mark 2:1-12, the story of a paralyzed man whose friends “raised the roof” to get him to Jesus. “These four men are challenging us to get a ‘by any means necessary’ mentality. We need to raise some roofs ‘by any means necessary.’ When I consider my salvation, when I consider what the Lord did to get us where we are, I know the Lord took a ‘by any means necessary‘ mentality in order to save us from us,” Lee said.
Lee says if we’re going to take care of AIDS, “somebody has to be inconvenienced so that somebody can be convenienced. The four men carrying the paralyzed man inconvenienced themselves in order to get the man to Jesus. “When you have a ‘by any means necessary’ mentality you can’t wait around and get permission, Lee said. “Sometimes you got to do it and say ‘excuse me’ later.”
Lee said, “If everybody just would do their part, how much better would this world be?”
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ “needs to prick herself this morning;” Lee said, ‘We are blood brothers because of Calvary. We need to rub our blood once again with one another. And even though our HIV/AIDS brothers and sisters have a few anti-bodies in their blood they are no less brothers and sisters ‘by any means necessary.’”
“You have AIDS, lest some of you forget you have disease, lest some of you forget you are high and holy you have antibodies. But one day the Lord made a decision that he would come down and take care of our AIDS. But our AIDS is not a-i-d-s, it’s s-i-n-s. And God came down to raise the roof off of our sinful situation.”
“The Lord came down to build a bridge of mercy, grace and love. God inconvenienced God’s self that God may come down here to help us.”
“Paul said that God emptied himself that God might be like one of us. The word became flesh ‘by any means necessary.’ Jesus went through something to get us healed ‘by any means necessary.’”
Lee said, “I thank God that ‘by any means necessary’ we are here today. If anybody could raise the roof, Jesus was a roof-raiser. Are there any roof-raisers in here today?”
Lee and the 800 member church he leads impacts the spiritual and physical health of thousands. Horizons Health Care Community Wide Clinic, which the church started, serves 9,000 uninsured or underinsured patients a year.
– by Rita Richardson