Friday, June 19, 2015
A few years back I visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Walking through the exhibits something became clear to me---something so incredibly obvious, and yet, something that I had never realized until that very moment.
As I walked slowly through the museum, I saw hundreds of photos and relics of the protests, marches, sit-ins, boycotts, and rallies. I read the stories of people who devoted, even gave their lives to the effort.
I also saw evidence of the backlash. Lynchings. Pamphlets full of fear and lies. Klan rallies. Fire hoses. Dogs. And finally, blood stains on the balcony of the hotel.
It finally became clear to me that the civil rights victories of the 1960’s and 70’s—the voting rights act, the end of legal segregation, school integration—none of this just happened.
Things did not just eventually get better.
Every positive change was hard won.
Each advance took planning and coordination.
It all took risk and sacrifice.
Change required the commitment of many people, from all different walks of life.
And there was resistance every step of the way.
It took so much to finally get somewhere.
And as a white American, I had no idea until the evidence was staring me in the face.
I cannot ignore the evidence of the last few days, past months, last few years. As a nation we have not arrived at racial equality. As a church we are not there yet. Not even close. And while we stand still, the forces of sin are still hard at work, pushing us all in the wrong direction.
Jesus calls his disciples to get into the boat and head on to the “other side.” They have already covered so much ground in the first four chapters of Mark. I imagine they are tired. They might feel really good about being right where they are. And yet he asks them to keep moving, to keep going.
In our faith lives, in our relationships, in our quest for justice, in seeking the kingdom of God---we need to keep moving or we lose ground. Often, it is directly into the storm that Jesus calls us. Our scripture for Sunday reminds us that Jesus will be right there with us, in the roughest of passages. And that is good news, because Jesus is calling all of his followers to get a move on.
It’s time to get somewhere on the issue of race.