Two weeks ago, on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, I was running errands when the radio announcer stated that “Amazing Grace” would be played at 11:00 a.m. on radios everywhere. As the song began, I pulled over. It was the version by Joan Baez, recorded live. I listened to the first verse and then joined in, singing alone in my car. My voice wavered with emotion over the beauty and power of Dr. King’s life and death and my worry that our new reality would not extend the dream that he’d begun.
On Friday, President Trump was inaugurated and on Saturday I marched in Philadelphia. You’ve heard all about the marches – how many women turned up with signs and pink hats and children and friends (many of whom were men!). The march was peaceful and positive, joyful and affirming. The march was about women’s rights and immigrant rights. It was about respecting our fellow humans – all of them. It was about healthcare and choice and access. It was about standing up against negative rhetoric. It was about demonstrating that this administration does not reflect our hopes and dreams. It does not reflect who we are.
On Saturday morning, when I read the news about the executive order that President Trump had signed stopping immigration from specific countries, I wept in confusion and anger over an action that could harm men, women and children already traumatized by war. On Sunday in church, in response to the question of what we can do, our priest invoked the last line of the first reading of the day from Micah 6:1-8: “…do justice…love kindness and walk humbly…”
Later that day, while baking (because I tend to bake when I don’t know what else to do), I listened to On Being with Krista Tippett. This week, she’d re-broadcasted a 2015 interview with Representative John Lewis. I’m sure you remember Donald Trump’s recent tossed off tweet stating that John Lewis is all talk, no action. John Lewis was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He literally led the walk across the bridge in Selma and was beaten unconscious. On the Civil Right Movement and nonviolent action he said:
“The movement created what I like to call a nonviolent revolution. It was love at its best. It’s one of the highest forms of love. That you beat me, you arrest me, you take me to jail, you almost kill me, but in spite of that, I’m gonna still love you.”
I have not been beaten, arrested or jailed for my beliefs. I have not almost been killed. I cannot yet feel that love that John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr called for.
John Lewis also said, “When you pray, move your feet.”
That I can do. I can move my feet. I can call my representatives. I can state my beliefs. I can stand and be counted.
(video from YouTube, photo of Rep. John Lewis from OnBeing.org, Philadelphia Women’s March photo my own)