04/12/2012 01:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Courage Impacts History

After the second degree murder charge and arrest of George Zimmerman was announced, Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin said, "The first time we marched, I looked to the sky and I just told myself, 'When I walk, I will walk by faith.' We will continue to walk by faith. We will continue to hold hands on this journey -- White, Black, Hispanic, Latino. We will continue to walk. We will march and march and march until the right thing is done."

I cannot begin to imagine the emotions of Trayvon Martin's parents. But they credited their faith and their God as they reacted to the news of the arrest of George Zimmerman.

On the way to Easter, I preached a sermon at Middle Church based on a text from Jeremiah 31:31-34 in which Jeremiah describes a new relationship between God and God's people: God's law is written on their hearts. The passage has me thinking about a world in which everyone knows God's love, peace and justice. In that world, we are joined as one human family. There will be no more enmity in God's Reign. It sounds unbelievable, doesn't it?

But the hope of this Reign is at the heart of work for racial reconciliation. This hope energized the Civil Rights Movement and, for faithful people, it represents a vision for a healed world.

And so it was that thousands of people of all races cried out for justice for Trayvon Martin. We did not know all of the facts, but we sensed that the dynamics of race in America were at play. We blogged, petitioned, donned our hoodies, and we prayed.

It has always been true good people of moral courage can impact history and can encourage the moral arc of the universe to bend toward justice.

The governor of Florida heard the outcry, appointed a special prosecutor and the country held its breath while Florida law enforcement took a second look at the case.

After the arrest, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother said, "Thank you, Lord, thank you, Jesus ... I just want to speak from my heart to your heart because a heart has no color. It's not Black. It's not White. It's red. And I want to say thank you from my heart to your heart."

Fulton's tender heart echoes Jeremiah's prophesy. She is calling us all to a new relationship.

Heart to heart, hand in hand, I pray we are entering a time of new hope -- a time when we will work more closely together to heal the racial tensions in our nation. Let us continue to pray for this family and our nation as the judicial process begins. Let our prayers and our actions lead us to a more healed and reconciled world. May we continue to look to the sky for our strength, to the hills for our help, and to our God for guidance as we work and march together toward a more just and peaceful society. Our world can change with each step we take.