|John Lewis receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom |
from President Barack Obama
I woke up to this morning to the news that Representative John Lewis had died during the night. An Alabama native, Lewis met Rosa Parks at the age of 17 and Martin Luther King, Jr. at the age of 18. Rep. Lewis marched for civil rights with Dr. King, bearing threats, imprisonment, attacks by police dogs, and beatings—most famously on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma where his skull was fractured by a mounted police officer when he stopped with the other marchers to pray. In 1987 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives out of Atlanta. At the time of his death he was the dean of the Georgia delegation.
As I meditate on his life, I remember these words from the committal liturgy that I always read at the graveside:
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, says the Spirit. They rest from their labors and their works follow them.Rep. Lewis, your works have followed you into the arms of the God you loved and served. May they now lead us to finish what you so nobly started.
(Guess what books I'll be re-reading in the days to come.)