s I write this column on All Saints' Day, Nov. 1, Rosa Parks lies in state in our nation's capital rotunda. She is being honored in this way as the person who started the civil rights movement by taking her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., claiming her right as a fare paying citizen to occupy a vacant place on this public bus. Because she had the strength to take such a stand, a chain of events was set in motion where today many people of color occupy prominent positions in all walks of life.
We are thankful for her strength of character and convictions, but as I view our nation today I pray that there might be people of faith like her to come forward and take a stand on many other issues I find disturbing.
Is there someone who might take a stand on the issue of poverty? I read the other day that one billion people in our world live on less than $1 a day. When our United States is the wealthiest nation in the world, we are considered to be the stingiest.
Scripture speaks very decidedly about poverty and especially as Christians we hear Jesus reminding us in the beatitudes that, "I was hungry and you gave me food," therefore we are called to take a seat on the "Freedom Bus From Hunger" and thus raise up this moral issue of our times.
In like manner there needs to be people of faith to take a seat and challenge our society not only to cut the abortion rate but also really care about women and children. Is there someone who will take a seat and really be "pro family" by supporting parents in the most difficult and important job in America - raising children?
There is a real epidemic today that may even be greater than the tragic pre-civil rights times - meth. Will someone take a seat on such moral and spiritual issues as the environment, freedom and justice, war and peace? By the way, terrorism will not be defeated by killing terrorists, but have we tried our biblical challenge to do unto others as we would have them do to us?
So what does all this have to say to us who live in a rather sheltered community? Plenty - until all people of faith from pew and pulpit take seriously our faith journeys, looking honestly at the issues of the day, change will never happen.
Until we think of saints as being more than special heroes of faith living in days gone by we will never bring change to our world.
But as we come to believe that a saint is a living acting person, responding to the way that God is leading, change will happen. Rosa Parks acted on her convictions and change happened. Are we willing to do the same whether we be pulpit or pew? That's how I see it on All Saints' Day 2005.
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