Church of Our Saviour

21 Marathon Street | Arlington, Massachusetts | 781-648-5962

Reflections on MLK Day & the Inauguration

Deb Aldrich, Jenny Hughes, Tom Kingston  Sue Morin , Jim Mouradian, Mark Namchuck, and Lily De Young offered thoughtful and heartfelt reflections during the service remembering Dr. King.  Some members followed up their own reflections in writing for the newsletter.

Amy Carman remembered driving along a country road, when it has been overcast or rainy.  Suddenly, you may see sunshine in one or two places, streaming down from the dark clouds above, to fields below.  It doesn’t take too much imagination to connect this vision with the heavens sending a message to us, even if only to notice this lovely field.  In our house a stream of sunshine starts with Martin Luther King Jr. and ends at a 7 year old girl.  She has a strong connection with this man and his words.  A fierce flame of righteousness burns in her.  She reminds us often to be thankful, . . . and mindful.

Chris Wilbur said: Saturday I just had to see the whistle-stop train.  So I found myself flipping on CSPAN, where they sometimes let the camera rest on a scene with no commentary, and found myself at a station in Maryland with maybe a hundred others, people of all types, in the camera’s wedge, with a low wall behind them in front of tracks.  Though the light was somewhat somber, the crowd I could see was exuberant and relaxed. You could hear people chattering and laughing, one shouting, “No more Bush!,”  But I realized that I certainly was not relaxed at all watching this, that in some way I had not been relaxed for some time.

The camera stayed fixed on the scene and suddenly the train arrived on the left with a rumble and loud whistles.  The crowd cheered.  The engine passed.  The passenger cars rolled slowly by the camera, car after car, which seemed to take a long time as the train had evidently slowed to a crawl.  Then an old-fashioned coach which must be the last one, and sure enough, now the end of the train and just Barack and Joe standing on the tiny platform and waving.  My eyes fixed in on Barack, who continued to wave, at us and perhaps not just us.

He looked relaxed indeed, a friendly, delighted expression on his face as the end of the train angled away on the right side of the screen (the camera never moved).  As he disappeared I realized again how un-relaxed I was watching this, how I wouldn’t be able to breathe well until high noon on Tuesday, Inauguration Day.

And I felt with some sadness how hard it has been sometimes to breathe well in a racist society.  But whatever may happen later on, I said to myself, things will be better indeed come Tuesday noon.

Rose Udics said: In one of the scripture readings for this day, Samuel did not recognize the voice of God calling him to become a prophet. What does the voice of God sound like to us today? I believe God’s voice is in the kind of call that groups like the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization make-to help us recognize our God-given power when we work for Justice and Truth on behalf of our brothers and sisters, in Boston and elsewhere. I hope that we, as a faith community and as individuals, can heed that call. Though we may be tired after a long day of work and not want to use precious free time to lobby at the State House with hotel workers and personal care attendants for better working conditions, we can still sign a petition or make phone calls, or simply “be there”: show up at a meeting where having a crowd present sends an important message. When we do these things together, we are the inspiration, the “breath of fresh air” we all hope to find-the power of the Spirit at work in and among us.

Jim Gomes said: Rose and I adopted our daughter Elizabeth from South Korea when she was an infant. She became an American citizen when she was three years old. When Elizabeth was about eight or nine, she was studying the American Revolution in school. One evening, in telling us about how some of the colonists were part of the rebellion and some were not, Elizabeth casually remarked, “We were all British then.”

I was struck by how totally this little girl from half a world away had taken ownership of more than two centuries of American history. Only later did it occur to me that Rose’s and my families had not migrated to America from various corners of Europe until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and that therefore all of the Paul Revere/Thomas Jefferson/Abraham Lincoln stuff was just as “adopted” for us as it was for Elizabeth.

For all the mistakes the U.S. has made throughout its history, the fact remains that it, more than any other nation, has aspired to bring together people of all races, religions, and countries of origin into a nation based on ideals rather than tribe. This week, with Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency, we will do something that is unimaginable almost any place else on earth. That is reason enough to be hopeful for the future.

We were all British then; we are all Americans now.

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