Sunday, October 30, 2005

In Memoriam

"At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," she said 30 years later. "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in." (Bree Fowler, AP)

Days that change the world start out the same as any other day. One doesn’t know when the alarm bursts through the quiet of morning what that day will bring. All one can do is face the day.

Rosa Parks died this week. When she was 42 she made history merely by not getting up. As she recalled later, she hadn’t planned to make history. It was, for Ms. Parks, “a day like any other day.”

She was required by law to give up her seat on the bus to any white person who might want it. She was asked to get up, and refused. She was arrested, jailed, and fined.

I am 42 now. I confess I don’t spend much time wondering each morning if I am going to make history on this day or that. I don’t expect to make history today.

You know how it goes. Sometimes we try to make history, or at least to have such an effect on people groups of people. I was talking to someone the other day who, like myself, has worked in different congregations over the years. This person was opining having received news that much of the ministry done years ago seems to have been undone since.

I encouraged this person to look not at whether or not the direction of the ministry was different, but whether or not lives had been changed. They had indeed.

Rosa Parks’ legacy is known because people joined in. But she didn’t act in that expectation. She just acted because it was the right thing to do.

Go and do likewise.

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