Been There. Done That.
John Lewis has been there, and done that.
One of the original Freedom Riders, bus firebombed, beaten and left unconscious. Youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. Beaten, skull fractured by Alabama state troopers on Selma’s Edmond Pettus Bridge in 1965.
John Lewis walked with MLK as one of his close advisers and confidants. After Dr. King’s assassination, assumed the mantle as a surviving leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He’s been arrested and imprisoned simply for being a black man who got in the way.
And…he’s a 17-term U.S. Congressman from Georgia.
John Lewis has been there, and done that. He’s stood courageously for justice, faced fear and hatred, accepted unjust punishment, and always – always – refused to answer violence with violence.
This week marks the 54th anniversary of Lewis’ encounter with brutal, racist hatred on the Edmond Pettus Bridge. Much has changed but in many ways the scourge of racism still flourishes. Even Lewis himself, this authentic national treasure, confronts divisive, hateful rhetoric from political opponents.
Despite all he’s seen, all he’s endured, John Lewis stands strong on his principles and refuses to punch back at the bullies. He simply won’t answer hate with hate.
If you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded in love and community, you can make the impossible possible.Rep. John Lewis
I’ll confess…I get discouraged. I get discouraged when injustice seems to win, when big parts of our culture applaud dishonesty and reward cruelty, when power, money, and coercion seem to carry the day. I wonder if Dr. King was being a bit wishful when he said, “The long arc of history bends toward justice.”
I wonder if the writers missed the part where Jesus said we should fight the bully on his own terms and beat the oppressors into submission. I wonder how long we’re supposed to wait. How much injustice is too much? How many enslaved children are too many? When do we finally fight back in ways they’ll respect?
John Lewis has been there, and done that. He got his skull cracked open 54 years ago, and at times it’s like nothing’s changed. I’ll bet he gets discouraged, but He follows Jesus and believes a mission based on love and community can’t be stopped.