Thursday, October 27, 2005

Listening to Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, 1913-2005, civil rights hero and catalyst for the Mongomery Bus Boycott, died Monday at age 92. I began my day listening to an archived interview with Rosa Parks from 1956. You can find a link to the recording here.

In the interview Ms. Parks says in a clear, soft voice, "The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose. They placed me under arrest. And I wasn't afraid. I don't know why I wasn't, but I didn't feel afraid. I had decided that I would have to know once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen, even in Montgomery, Alabama."

A rousing gospel version of This Little Light of Mine concludes the interview. A black gospel choir singing "Jesus gave me the light, I'm gonna let it shine..." is blaring from my speakers right now. :-)

Isn't it interesting to think about just how many ways the "light" can shine? One of my favorite contemporary choruses is "Shine Jesus Shine." "Lord the light of your love is shining, in the midst of the darkness shining...Jesus, light of the world, shine upon us, set us free by the truth you now bring us..."

Rosa Parks had, according to those who knew her, "deep religious conviction." Perhaps it was her faith, the "light of Jesus," that gave this woman and many other people the strength to stand in a turbulent and violent time.

I am a person who tends to try to find the middle ground, to discover consensus, to compromise for the sake of peace. When I can't do so without being untrue to my convictions -- well, then it is time to stand. In Rosa Parks case it was time to sit. I'm not being flippant. I'm just pondering the nature of...finally having enough and refusing to budge.

More later...busy day ahead.


much2ponder said...
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much2ponder said...

I find Rosa Parks to be a fascinating person. As I spend a few moments studying her face in a photo taken during her 1999 acceptance of the Congressional Metal of Freedom, I can’t help but think that this woman…this little woman, with her tiny face and genuine countenance, was just the person that would be used to spark the civil rights movement! Wow! My thoughts quickly went to the realization of how God had used this one woman to change so much in the world. I am inspired by her! As I continued to study her sparkling eyes in addition to her bright and beautiful smile, I noted the striking contrast between Mrs. Parks gentle look in comparison to the impact this one little woman has had on the world. Is God good or what? He is so faithful! God uses willing vessels (I heard that recently, in fact…today!) Rosa Parks is a testament to what can happen when one person stands for what is right. One person can make a difference regardless of status, ethnic background or gender. “God uses willing vessels” it is true!

still_emerging said...

Taking a stand, OR a seat takes courage that can only come from inner Truth, from God. As you admit, sometimes that 'middle ground,' that biblical charge to "seek peace and pursue it" requires,impels us to take a stand, take a seat, and yikes!speak up. And none of us really seeks to be God's mouth piece - but "woe to us if we do not speak" So, keep speaking, keep singing and keep blogging!

PS. The Round Barn Retreat post on my blog contains the name of a woman (Liz Buxton) whom you may find to be a great contact. She is a UMC pastor of two rural congregations in VA.

Grand and peace