Laura Glenn, Charles Town:
There has never been anyone in present time who has so eloquently spoken truer words. We are all here looking for equality and freedom. This is not only right, it is our right as Americans!
The color of one’s skin or the beliefs they have in whatever God they choose to worship is what our country is based on. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize: Equality, understanding and compassion for one another as humans!
May we all be blessed by whatever diety we worship!
Ann Khiel Fern, Charles Town: Dr. Martin Luther King was one of the greatest men in our nation’s history. He preached love, tolerance and equality for all.
Somehow we have gotten away from the vision that he had. Instead of building bridges, we as a society are building walls.
King’s voice rang out as he shared, “… and when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village … 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.’ ’’
… all of our ancestors made a difference in our land and we need to break down the barriers between races and religions and build a bridge. That’s what I think Dr. Martin Luther King wanted, a land without racial walls – a land where ALL of God’s children are equal and where ALL heritages are celebrated.
The Rev. Georgia DuBose, Harpers Ferry (from her Sunday sermon at St. John’s Episcopal Church): The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and other organizers of the March on Washington like A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin are remembered vividly, and the photographic and historic record reminds us of the intense and focused concentration they brought to their task.
However, when we view the photographic record, something else is clear: those notable people, and the people that encouraged them, like Mahalia Jackson and Mary McLeod Bethune, were supported by hundreds of thousands of others, whose names never made it into the historic record.
There may not be even photographs of them to record their presence. They are like the tiles in a mosaic: Each makes a piece that gives you an image, but they may not be noticeable when you look at the image as a whole.
This morning, we will have the opportunity to see one of the pieces of that vast human picture recognized — Bettye Webb-Hayes, the music director of St. John’s, who participated in the march when she was 22 years old.
Bettye says that she has not even a photograph to commemorate her participation in one of the most important events of the 20th century. But now, in the 21st century, her role will be noted.
Another friend of this church, its former missioner, and my mentor as I moved through the years of becoming a priest, the Rev. Victor Lawson, was also present at the march.
He chose to become a priest after that march, and that has great meaning for me, because of the simple fact that without his wisdom, guidance and advocacy, I would never have become a priest. Without Victor’s encouragement and calmness, I very well might have given up. …
Each of you has saints you can ask to pray for you. They are people who nourished your spiritual life, and who helped you to grow into the person that you are. St. Bartholomew is remembered, but little is known about him. Your particular saints may be remembered only by you and perhaps a few others. But their influence counts.
I will close with a quote from “Middlemarch” by George Eliot. She is talking about the life of her hero in that novel, Dorothea Brooke, and how she lived out her life after the end of the novel’s action. Eliot said indicated that Dorothea lived a very quiet life after marrying Will Ladislaw; the final words of the book are: “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
So, be aware that good works may not get you into heaven, but they have an influence on those around you. You are part of a mosaic known as the Body of Christ. You are the connective tissue that makes the movement of that Body possible. Just as you have your saints, people who made your life better, but who may be unknown to most others, so you can be for people who will remain on the earth after you are gone.