Remembering Rep. John Lewis

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“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light.”

Rep. John Lewis

Representative John Lewis served our country from 1987 until his death in 2020.  He proclaimed the need to get in “good trouble” to push our country toward a more perfect union. You can read quite a bit about him HERE.

The quote that heads this article reminds me of Matthew 5: 14-16. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before everyone in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Abba God who is in heaven.”

God has chosen a partnership with humanity to bring about the vision that God has for all of Creation. This means that God’s vision fails when humanity fails to cooperate with God. As I said in a previous post, “God has made a challenge to God’s self about humanity. God created humanity with freedom yet God has a plan for humanity that provides high stakes for God. God intends for humanity to become the very image of God toward each other and toward all of creation. This means that for God to meet God’s challenge to God’s self, humanity will become a people of justice and righteousness. Micah 6:8 expresses this as acting justly, loving mercy (kindness), and walking humbly with God. This is God’s goal. The way God chooses to be exalted is by seeing justice and righteousness on earth as it is in heaven. “

We are now in a struggle over voting rights. This struggle is without doubt a struggle for justice. To deny people a right to participate in determining the course our country takes toward our future is to deny them justice. It is to fail God and to put road blocks in God’s way toward fulfilling the vision God has for us. John Lewis championed justice in all forms and especially regarding voting rights.

There has always been a resistance to justice in our country when it comes to voting rights. In the beginning only white men of property were allowed to vote. Gradually others have fought to broaden the right to vote. You can see a quick view of the history of voting in our country, with a focus on our state of Washington, HERE. It is quite interesting. Something to understand is that voting rights are not granted easily but must be fought for relentlessly.

It seems that as soon as we think the matter of voting is settled, a challenge to disenfranchise people returns to plague us. We are witnessing new efforts to make voting difficult for people. We must understand that white men with property would prefer that they had retained the sole right of the vote. They understand that their desires are often in conflict with the desires of other people.

It is challenging to open up the participation of everyone in determining the direction of our country. There is a trust factor at play and our country has fallen into a pattern of mistrusting one another over the last several years. However, those of us who know we are called to be a light to the nation understand that we must stand for justice. It is a matter of justice that all of those who are affected by the direction our country goes must be included in the decision-making process. We must stand on the side of making sure that all our citizens maintain the right to vote. We must insist that all road blocks be removed.

God cares deeply about how we treat one another. We are blessed in the state of Washington to vote by mail. And not only do we get to vote by mail, but we are supplied with voter pamphlets that allow us to make informed choices without having to search for information about candidates and issues. (Nevertheless, a responsible voter will go beyond this booklet to understand the candidates and the issues.)

In remembrance of Rep. John Lewis let us stand up for voting rights in all the states of our Union. It is a matter of justice. And my beloved ones in Christ, let us always act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

Bishop Kedda

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