Thursday, January 15, 2015

A DAY TO REMEMBER AND CELEBRATE!

This morning, January 15, 2015, I attended the Mayor’s Unity Breakfast in honor of Dr. Marin Luther King’s birthday. I was privileged to be asked to say the invocation. The event was held at Cornerstone Baptist Church. We had a wonderful breakfast, but the hospitality was even better than the food. Every once in a while, we are reminded of just how important it is that we stay committed to unity in our community and everywhere. I can still remember sitting in front of the television and watching the events unfold during the sixties. I was 13 when the Voting Rights Act finally passed in this country. I remember LBJ saying something about passing the Voting Rights Act and then he said: “We shall overcome.” It was and is still a moment. I remember my mother who wondered why it had taken so long to do what was right. Today, as I sat with leaders of Spartanburg I was so proud to be a part of a community that is working hard every day to be inclusive of all. The speaker was our Police Chief, Alonzo Thompson. He gave a great speech and we all shared his hopes and dreams about Spartanburg. The children from EP Todd Elementary School sang for us. One of the songs was: “I have a Dream”. They were great. We were all moved to tears. The Chorus was beautifully diverse and they called themselves: Treble Makers. Everyone who spoke said: “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.” No one would deny that there is still much work to do. As long as one of us is living in poverty or homelessness, as long as one of us is unemployed, or alone, we have work to do. We have children to educate and love; we have people of all races to live and love with. When I was in sophomore Philosophy class at Newberry College, we studied Dr. King. On our final exam, we read Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham City Jail. I remember being moved by it. As a Christian pastor, I felt deeply his roots in scripture and in his faith as he sought to lead us forward no matter what it cost him. Of course, ultimately it cost his life. Many in the community were saying to Dr. King that they agreed with everything he wanted to do but the timing was just not right. They said to him: “Wait.” He replied that he had waited, and that it was time to act now. Today, we honor him as a person, a pastor, a community and national leader, a preacher, a civil rights leader. We honor his legacy as a person who tried to do what was right and to lead all of us forward toward the future. Today, we remember our differences and celebrate them. God has made us all different. But, we also share in our likenesses. We are together in a community. The chief said that Dr. King said that we all came over in different ships but we are in the same boat now. Indeed. We are in the same boat and the same community. May we honor each other as brothers and sisters of God. Blessings! Dave Nichols

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