MARTIN LUTHER KING AND JOHN LEWIS
Behind every Moses is an Aaron. John Lewis was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Aaron. If Dr. King was the face and voice of the civil rights movement, John Lewis was, and still is, its soul.
PANCREATIC CANCER AND A MEMORY OF SELMA
News of his Stage IV pancreatic cancer was a sad day that calls for national reflection, thanksgiving for his witness, and prayers of intercession that “his suffering be minor and his transition easy.”
Pancreatic cancer is no stranger to the seven old seminary friends who gather annually for friendship and study. Steve Shoemaker and Wayne Boulton pancreatic cancer diagnosis preceded John Lewis. We are down to four and counting, but the memories of walking from Selma to Montgomery in March,1965 did not pass with Steve and Wayne; they are alive and fresh among the busload of seminary students who rode the bus from Chicago to Selma, AL to walk with Moses (Martin Luther King Jr) and Aaron (John Lewis) across the Pettus Bridge to Montgomery.
CANCER, CALENDARS, AND CLOCKS
John Lewis knows that some cancers metastasize. America’s “original sin,” i.e., deep-rooted and omnipresent, never quite goes away. It may appear to be in remission. It may hide awhile, but it is always there.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?”
Day after day — hour by hour, now — the calendar and clock are turned back against the dream. But there is different calendar and clock beyond the control of white nationalism. Until his last breath, John Lewis will bear witness to a better life on the other side of America’s original sin. It falls to all of us afflicted to walk across the bridge Pettus Bridge with confession resistance, and joyful hymns of praise.
BE THOU OUR GUARD WHILE TROUBLES LAST
Return, ye sons of men:
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
“What did you do?” – Congressman John Lewis. “Come on, now. We can do better than this!” – Congressman Elijah Cummings (RIP), Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Gordon C. Stewart, Feb. 22, 2020.