This week at the Family Service I will be reading a children’s story about a girl who marched with Martin Luther King. When I heard local Harwich artist and civil rights educator, Pam Purdy, speak about the icons she has made about the civil rights movement, I learned for the first time that kids marched with Martin Luther King. I suppose I should have known about this, but somehow, never did. It is hard to imagine how much courage they must have had. Perhaps it is harder to imagine how much courage their parents had that day. To believe so much in a cause that you allow your children to risk their lives, is a powerful thing.
During January, our worship theme is Courage. So each week I look for stories about personal courage. This week I have been drawn to stories around the Cape and the country of people who are affected by the government shutdown, trying to figure out how to take care of their families and meet their own budgets without a paycheck. I am also impressed by all the ordinary people who are paying attention, stepping up to feed their neighbors and helping one another in large and small ways. Its humbling and encouraging to see example of decency in times of uncertainty.
I was also impressed this week by columnist Nickolas Kristoff who wrote an article about courage for the New York Times. Often courage takes you by surprise and his reporting on the Sudan has been so heart-wrenching that you wonder how anyone in that country would have the strength that hope requires. But there are also times when the chips are down and people come to a place of deciding that courage is the only path. It is the path they choose because they refuse to be beaten, anymore. That is the case in Sudan.
“If you’re feeling depressed about the human condition, then maybe you can find inspiration in the incredible protesters in Sudan, shouting “peaceful, peaceful” even as they are targeted with live ammunition. They are trying to overthrow a dictator who has engaged in three genocides by my count, most notoriously in Darfur.”
The demonstrators are pleading with the United States to speak up and reduce the chance of a bloodbath, but we have been silent. A big march is planned for today - Friday and that will be a test.
This is far away and we have a lot to contend with here at home. But here is another example of the human spirit. Courage really is the quality in the human spirit which is unquenchable. It is that spirit that says, “You cannot stop me because I will not be afraid. I refuse to be afraid.”
Have a read.
Blessing on your journey, Rev. Susan