Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shall We Overcome?

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

On this day, in 2000, Silas and I were able to worship in the first church that MLK pastored. The same church where he started his peaceful protests and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 
 I mistakenly thought that instead of a service of worship, it would be only a service of civil rights. It is a good cause, but not the main thing. I was terribly wrong.  It was a judgmental opinion.  It was a worship service full of people who were striving to serve God! The church was full, and we truly were worshiping our with our family. 
 At the end of the service, we held hands, with MLK's friends, and sang 'We Shall Overcome'.  It was one of those moments I was made for. To hold the hand of the hand that held Martin Luther King Jr.'s and sing that hymn. We were singing, not because minorities are as oppressed as they were a generation ago, but because God wants us to be free. A kind of freedom that is independent of religion, gender, or race (see above speech). 
I want to be more like the people at Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. It is a hub, a central station, for the freedom train. Free in our hearts, and free in body.  The words of King's speech were not just for the oppressed black, but for me.
 It was a small thing that day, to worship, to eat, to sing, to hold hands- far away from my white mountain childhood. Though I was far away, I was home. I felt part of something bigger than myself, something right and a bit more free than when I arrived. How can I deny my heart's been set free? Free at last, free at last....

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