Selma at 50: No Longer Master and Servants, but Friends
Inclement weather throughout the country, hours of traffic, long lines and hours of waiting couldn’t keep tens of thousands of U.S. citizens from convening in Selma, Alabama on March 7-8, 2015 for the weekend marking the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. As in 1965, people from various parts of America rallied around a common cause, namely, the rejection of racism. This was not achieved through the mandate of any single person, but because such action was consistent with the inscription in our hearts from the moment of creation. We were not called to live in isolation, in fear, and in opposition of each other, but rather in communion.
In this way, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not merely one of many Civil Rights leaders in our nation’s history, but rather, someone who responded to God’s calling to faithful and liberating servitude. And this he did not consider to be his own mission, but the ultimate purpose in life for all men and women. He encouraged all people of all faiths to search their hearts and rediscover the primordial quality that made us more than flesh and blood, more then men and women, more than black and white, more than self and other; to harness the faith to put on as our own mantle that which makes us images of God, namely love.
This was what visitors experienced as they encountered each other in the chapels, museums and streets of Selma. The brotherly love present in Selma reminded clearly reflected the love of Christ for His disciples. And this love was never condescending and never divisive. As was the case with Christ and His disciples, we in Selma had reached the point where we no longer carried ourselves as master and servant, but rather as friends, for indeed, all things that have been heard from the Father have also been made known to us (John 15:15).