Friday, February 4, 2011

Be Strong and Courageous...

Rosa Parks was born on this day, February 4th, in the year 1913. When she was 42 years old, she had the courage to stand up to one of our country's greatest wrongs; the treatment of one group of people as having less value than another. Those kinds of acts continue in our country, and even more sadly, in our churches, yet today.

When I was in high school and came across the concept of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks became one of the people on my short list of heroes. Not only was she of the 'wrong' race, but she was a woman; the 'wrong' sex to do a brave and courageous act that would lead to the betterment of our world.

Last year, in my reading through the Bible, I was led to underline every time I saw God tell someone to "Be Strong and Courageous." I did a lot of underlining! That phrase was almost always followed by the promise that the Lord would be with us when we acted on behalf of Right, with strength and courage. I am sure that Rosa Parks leaned on that promise the day she refused to move to the back of the bus, and as she was arrested, fingerprinted, and treated like a criminal.

I confess that I prefer to not think of inequities as I go throughout my day. But we are called to think of others and of how they are treated. My recent treatment as a woman in the church has led me to be more willing to open my eyes to those who are believed to be 'less than' others. It is these whom Christ had the most compassion with. Surely these were among the ones whom He was thinking about as he died on the cross: these, whose lives are not more difficult because of anything they have done, but because of how we treat them, based on superficial differences of race, sex, or even belief.

As we go about our days, let us be Strong and Courageous, as Rosa Parks was, as Christ Himself was. Let our acts and treatment of others reflect that strength, courage, and most especially the Love that motivates them. Brigid of Ireland said, "I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich measures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present."

I would like that, too.

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