God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
I went to a special magnet school when I started middle school, and we got some special events and opportunities. One of them was a visit by guest speaker Rosa Parks. As a kid, I did not fully appreciate her visit. Despite attending a school in which I was the minority student, receiving a real world education in perspective, I was being taught what most kids were taught, and adults too... the Civil Rights movement was a struggle that happened decades ago and was entirely accomplished. No one explained to me that like so many other conflicts and wars, it never really ended and there was more to fight for. No one explained to me that the reason my school was in an improvised neighborhood of almost entirely African American people might be because the struggle for equality and opportunity continues today.
I love the quote above that adorns the quote wall of our youth space, sharing a wall with the Micah scripture above. It's a favorite of the kids. They chose it. The true story of what she said is less funny, but more powerful. She said, "You must do what you must do. And I must do what I must." She insisted on following her call to do as she must. She would live to see a world where she was an honored guest at my school to talk about how far we'd come. She would not live long enough to see how far we have not, and how far we've obviously left to go to reach the mountain top.
As we approach Martin Luther King Day this Monday, I hope we can reflect not just on a man who did great work in the past, but a man who would still have worked tirelessly for decades after his early death and whose dream is not yet realized. He is and must not be a martyr to an old cause or accomplished task, but an example of what we must yet be. His fight for equality goes on, his fight for justice, his hope for us to be brothers and sisters, to not just tolerate, but love one another, not just to not abide racism, but to fight it, to be anti-racist. We can do our part, as Presbyterians who value education and justice, by reading, exploring, studying, and befriending. Let us march on, and not grow weary or complacent. Let us do more than mark the day. Let us honor it with work we have yet to do.