So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. - Exodus 2:25 (NIV)
Many Americans celebrated the lives and mourned the passing of three human rights champions, in the persons of the Reverend Cordy Tindell Vivian, the Reverend Doctor Joseph Lowery, and Congressman John Lewis.
Condolences and heartfelt expressions of concern for the families of these Civil Rights icons have been conveyed from governmental agencies and from people around the nation. In tribute to the longstanding public service of John Lewis, President Trump ordered that the United States flag be flown half-staff.
Tributes, condolences, and warm words are wonderful ways to express gratitude and show respect for those who’ve made great sacrifices to make America a more perfect union of democracy and equal opportunity. But they are not the best ways.
While concerns and condolences pour in to honor the non-violent fight for justice waged by these humanitarian warriors, gun reform legislation aimed at mitigating the wanton pervasiveness of firearms in America, is still stalled in the U.S. Congress. And while the blood of John Lewis played a key role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the key components of that act are now on life support, leaving the door wide open for sustained voter suppression.
Exodus 2:25 tells us that when God looked upon the suffering of the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, God was concerned. And God’s concern was realized in the commissioning of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites.
A more pertinent translation of Exodus 2:25 is from the New Living Translation: “God looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.”
Lord, turn our condolences into commitment and our concerns into action. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.