Week of June 14, 2015

CLARY-MICHAEL-240

The scripture this week calls us to grow. Like the mustard seed we may start small. We may take baby steps that seem imperceptible, but day after day, in communion with the Lord and one another, we can become a force to be reckoned with – a transformative force, one much needed by the world. Below is an example of someone who was such a force.

Montgomery, Alabama, 1955. Although 70% of the passengers using the city bus lines were black, the first seats on all buses were kept for whites. And if those seats were taken and more whites got on the bus, black people seated in the rear were forced to get up and give them their seats.

On December 1, 1955, Mrs. Parks, a 42 year old black woman, boarded a bus to go home after a long day working and shopping. She found a seat at the start of the black section. At the next stop some whites got on so the driver ordered her to get up and give her seat to a white man. She refused to get up. The driver called a policeman. Mrs. Parks was arrested.

Word quickly spread. A meeting was called and Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed it. They made one basic demand: that passengers be seated on a first-come basis. To achieve this end they began a boycott of the buses. People walked to work.

It was an extraordinary scene. Everywhere the sidewalks were crammed with people walking to work, and the buses went by empty but for whites. The boycott dragged on all that winter, and through the spring and summer of 1956. Meanwhile the leaders of the movement were arrested. Martin Luther King’s home was bombed. Finally the Supreme Court declared that Alabama’s segregation laws were unconstitutional.

Victory was achieved and an unjust situation put right because one day one woman decided to act. The spark ignited by Mrs. Parks started a fire.

Small acts can make a big difference. How will you make a difference today?

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