Don Opitz from Montgomery on Day 4

June 14th, 2016

Beyond MLK, Rosa Parks and a few others, I didn’t even know the heroes and heroines of this bloody battle for freedom. The civil rights movement has been marginal in my schooling, and almost completely absent from the pulpit and SS classes of churches that I’ve attended. This trip has been in turns revealing and revolting as we have re-witnessed the callous and brutal racism, and it has been inspiring to hear the stories of courage and faith and sacrifice. The CRM was much deeper and wider than the work of pastors and organizers. The marginal saints of the movement appear in the pictures and films of each museum, and some of those names are etched in memorials and historical records. Thousands were faithful and forgotten foot soldiers who prayed and planned in town after town, in dorm rooms, church basements, lunch counters, and backyard BBQs. They risked, protested, and paid a high price for freedom. The gospel too was carried by marginal saints, not just heroes, and their names are recorded in the margins of the NT: Onesimus and Clement, Lydia and Phoebe, Aristarchus and Archippus. The testimony and light of all of these marginal saints burns on. Our own dark days must be continually lighted by heroes and by marginal saints like us, people who are willing to take the truth into the streets.

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