An African African man with his hand raised greeting a large crowd

      Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C. (Photo – commons.wikimedia.org).

      In one of my articles I invited you to take seriously a commitment to “energy management.” To not pack too much onto your plate, and to give yourself enough time to identify and nurture the gifts you want to share with the world. This weekend, many of us enjoy an extra day off from work or school, to celebrate the prophetic deeds of Martin Luther King, Jr.

      By Tera Landers

      The evening before the boycott launched, King spoke to a large group gathered at the Holt Street Baptist Church. In his remarks, King said:

      There comes a time when people get tired.
      We are here this evening to say
      to those who have mistreated us so long that we are tired
      — tired of being segregated and humiliated;
      tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression.
      We have no alternative but to protest.

      For many years we have shown amazing patience.
      We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling
      that we liked the way we were being treated.
      But we come here tonight to be saved…
      to be saved from that patience
      that makes us patient with anything less
      than freedom and justice.

      If you are reading this reflection, you are probably already aware of some of the heart-breaking issues facing our communities and our planet. You know there are people currently experiencing homelessness. You know there are people in Pasadena who will not have enough to eat tonight. You know there are people working hard, who do not receive fair wages. You know there is too much demand on earth’s finite resources.

      Many of you hear the aching cries of Creation, and you do something about it. You give blankets and socks to shelters. You donate non-perishable food items to local pantries. You frequent businesses that treat workers well. You change your personal habits so you leave less of an environmental footprint.

      You do those things. And we come into a weekend celebrating the amazing justice work of a American hero, Dr. King, and all the men and women who walked the path toward justice beside him. And you realize – the issues facing our planet are huge. They feel overwhelming. You wonder, do my individual actions make a difference?

      A solitary white passenger durig the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955. (Photo - machinemean.org).

      A solitary white passenger durig the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955. (Photo – machinemean.org).

      When the people in Montgomery, Alabama decided to move forward with the bus boycott, they had no idea if it would work. This strategy hadn’t been tried before. Even King doubted that it would be successful. Most of the African American community relied on busses to get everywhere. Would they really walk or find rides with other people?

      On the first day of the boycott – 90% of the people stayed off the busses. And the boycott continued for almost three weeks, with friends offering rides to friends, and protestors opting to walk instead of ride.

      You wonder,
      do my individual
      make a difference?

      Patience found no home on those streets. And with determination, vigor, and reliance on their expanding community of fellow civil rights activists and advocates, they won.

      No one person could have achieved that on their own. Even though this weekend we lift up the mighty work of Dr. King – this is also a time to celebrate the incredible, courageous deeds of all the men, women and children who risked everything to see justice prevail in America. We don’t know their names, but we surely stand on the shoulders of those giants as we do our own work of repairing the world.

      Your individual actions matter. The compassion you show to the world matters. May we each be saved from our patience, and use some of our extra hours we have this Monday to create more meaningful connections in our communities so our own good work can join with that of others, and our impact can multiply.

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