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A Prayer of Appreciation for the Life and Work of Congressman John Lewis

We on the Campus Ministry team, offer a prayer of appreciation for the life and social justice work of Congressman John Lewis:

As a student at Fisk University John Lewis was dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and he devoted his life to racial justice and equity working decades as an organizer and activist. Before serving 17 terms as U.S. House Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, he spent his life in service to others. 

Lewis was arrested more than 40 times protesting segregation. He was involved in lunch counter sit-ins; freedom rides on interstate buses, he was the youngest speaker and one of six planners for the 1963 March on Washington.  

Congressman Lewis was a beautiful brown genuinely gentle giant in nature who was a fierce advocate for the culture. Some of his most famous words are just as relevant if not more so today than when he spoke them nearly 55 years ago. “We’re tired of being beaten by policemen. We’re tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again,” the 23-year-old Lewis said in a speech at the Lincoln Memorial. “We want our freedom and we want it now! – CNN

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

– A tweet from June 2018

Today we offer a scripture and prayer of gratitude and encouragement:

Matthew 6: 33-34  But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Good and eternal God, we grieve with all who mourn the life and legacy of your beloved servant Congressman John Lewis. We offer words of appreciation for a life of sacrifice and service well lived.  Kingdom building God, we lift our heavy hearts in gratitude for he has fought the good fight of faith. We pray he has entered your eternal rest.  We thank you that he experienced a sense of call to social justice work and activism at a very young age. May we pick up the mantle left behind from all the great leaders of the Civil Rights movement. The words of Jesus instruct us to seek first your kingdom and your justice with a promise that everything we need God knows and God will provide.  May young and old activists and pursuers of justice, inclusion, and love pick up the mantle with the same passion and conviction. Help us to recognize how important and sacred our right to vote is as a peaceful and nonviolent tool to create a more perfect union. 

May the dedication and devotion to equity and justice be our life’s passion. As we face “Today’s trouble, that is enough for today” may we move without fear protesting to make noise loudly and often to get in good trouble, necessary trouble for the sake of our neighbors, our BIPOC siblings, for children still detained in cages at the border, and for all who continue to be exposed to the Covid-19 virus. 

Oh God of justice and peace, give us the grace and tenacity in the Spirit of Christ to not be afraid to make noise and get in good trouble to permanently dismantle all systems of oppression once and for all.  

It is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman

Augsburg University Pastor