This is my prayer, O God of all earth’s kingdoms, your kingdom come; on earth your will be done. O God, be lifted up till all shall serve you, and hearts united learn to live as one. So hear my prayer, O God of all the nations; myself I give you; let your will be done. ~ELW 887 stanza 3
This past weekend, I had a choice to make. It wasn’t a lifechanging choice but still I believe a significant choice. I had to choose a movie to go see (Sarah left it up to me.) Would I pick the box office leader, American Sniper, or would I choose to watch another movie? I don’t go to the movies all of the time and I decided to spend our money on the movie Selma.
I have studied and watched other movies about the civil rights movement in my life. Yes, all of these events took place before I was born, I don’t have first hand memory. The movie was powerful, the movie was timely and the movie was convicting. As we left the movie, Sarah asked me a simple yet haunting question, “Would we have gone to Selma?” If you remember, a peaceful march was scheduled from Selma to Montgomery. As the people crossed the bridge, the police and militia drove them back across the bridge beating everyone that they could reach. Chasing some down on foot and others from horseback. These scenes were broadcast across the United States and for many it was a “wake up call” to what was really going on in the south. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put out a call to “white clergy” to come and march with them the next time. And, many came from many places and two clergy from Boston gave their lives in Selma when they were beaten to death for supporting the march.
I would like to believe that if a call like that were made today that we would go. But I can only say that in theory unless a call is made. The piece that I took away from the movie is that we have not come far enough. Many have assured me that the south hasn’t changed much and we have seen the struggles in our nation this past year come to the surface again. But what concerns me most is that the outcome of the march from Selma to Montgomery was the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965. This act has been amended several times over the years to make it broader and stronger but in many places it is under attack again. As legislators, in certain states, continually push to put roadblocks in the way of would be voters; to take away again this protected right.
We have not come far enough. I have not come far enough. O God of all earth’s kingdoms, your kingdom come; on earth your will be done.