Thoughts from Fr. Marshall - All Saints Episcopal Church
 
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 I remember at age eight, living in the Jim Crow South, sitting in a mimosa tree and my grandmother telling me that Dr. King had been killed.

Unlike many white people we were very sad. Dr. King had the great admiration of my grandmother and of both my parents.

As an adult and as a high school teacher in two private schools in which I taught, I remember arguments with other teachers and administrators who did not think Dr. King deserved a national holiday and they didn't want to give the holiday to our students, mostly African American.

Their point of view did not prevail I am  happy to report and I like to think that like many politicians they think back with some shame.

One history teacher said to me in a faculty senate meeting "you can't believe he deserves an observed holiday more that Washington or Lincoln." He said it with great anger. I replied as calmly as I could that actually I did.

I said then and I believe now more than ever that Dr. King took leadership like no other person in our history in moving all of us toward the creation of a more perfect union.

Slavery is a historical reality that mocked the words of our founding documents. Extending the full and equal protection of the law, first to women and then to people of color, brought an integrity that has made it possible for us to envision a future free from constructs that have robbed generations of much potential and possibility.

The union is not yet perfect, but the continuation of the behaviors that violate the integrity of the ideals upon which we claim to stand, become more and more obviously incongruous and destructive as time passes.

Dr. King did perhaps more than any other person in our history to shine light upon and to help us see both the tragedy of our mistaken behavior and choices and the glorious possibility of living beyond those limitations and mistakes. Following his master, Jesus, he helped us once again have a clearer vision of our potential.

Our religion is all about relationship. There is no one who exist who is not the image and likeness of God. Dr. King did so much to articulate this reality and did God's work in helping us see and understand the lack of integrity with which we mocked our highest ideals as a nation and a people.

He did not stop with race but went on to speak of the shame of a people who allow and even profit from maintaining their sisters and brothers in poverty, without adequate opportunity to live life and pursue happiness and liberty.

Yes, I believe that Dr. King did God's work. I do not disparage the great contributions of Washington and Lincoln but the stand taken by Dr. King, paid for in his blood, is so fundamentally and universally humane and required such courage and personal integrity, against, not with the support of society or government, that I honestly believe it belongs to a special kind of offering to humanity that Americans of all races and faiths should hold dear and celebrate with humility and gratitude-- his gift to the evolution of our race on this planet.

May Dr. King's story be told and may we, with pride, pass it on to all of our children for all times to come, Above all, may we live into the ideals he modeled and eloquently articulated for us all.

Love and Light,
Lewis Marshall

George Cawley
1/22/2011 09:50:01 am

Hi Lewis. I love the All Saints website and really enjoyed reading your blogs. Looks like you have a very nice Parish. I hope it continues to grow and prosper. Love, George

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Lewis
1/22/2011 09:57:51 am

Thanks George! So great to hear from you and thank you for the kind words.

It is a good parish and I am loving it.

You and Raina and the kids are always welcome to come stay with us and visit and do NYC! We would love it. Seriously!

Thanks for reading and writing.

Love to you and Raina and the kids!

Lewis

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