In honor of Rosa Parks: Quiet, confident, strong, courageous, prophetic…and a follower of Christ.

Rosa_Parks_BookingRosa Parks.

This woman.
Quiet but not timid.
Confident but not arrogant.
Fierce but not violent.
Strong, Courageous, and Prophetic.
…and a follower of Christ.

Rosa Parks.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

As many seek to honor her, it’s common and tempting for folks to only acknowledge parts of her. In a fast changing post-Christendom world, many will not want to acknowledge (or even know) the significance that her faith in Christ played in her life and thus, her activism. In other words, her activism was part of her discipleship. She was a lifelong Methodist and committed to her local church wherever she lived including the AME church in Montgomery. She later served as a deaconess when she moved to Detroit.

One of my favorite things about Rosa Parks was that she was known to have always be carrying around her Bible.

“I remember finding such comfort and peace while reading the Bible. Its teaching became a way of life and helped me in dealing with my day-to-day problems… From my upbringing and the Bible I learned people should stand up for rights just as the children of Israel stood up to the Pharaoh.”

When people condemn Christians for being judgmental, bigots, and hatemongers…we have to listen, in part, because it’s partly true. But…it’s partly true but not entirely true. To make a statement over the whole because of one, couple, or some is simply not accurate.  It’s true, there are some that are judgmental, bigots, and hate-mongers but that’s not at all the full story of the Church – the bride of Christ.

After listening for a few minutes of people going off on Christians, I love sharing the story of Rosa Parks with them. And they’re often dumbfounded to discover that she was a devout follower of Christ. And it’s not just Rosa…there’s a long list of people – known and unknown – that are clearly imperfect but living beautiful livings.

Words matter…but words with deeds, words with actions, faith in motion, love in Christ lived out…it’s the most powerful, compelling sermon anyone can hear.

As a preacher myself, I love teaching and preaching but compelling sermons aren’t just from pulpits. They’re preached around kitchen tables, by bedsides, on the streets, in company boardrooms, in your neighborhoods…and even on a bus.

Preach, Rosa. Preach, sista. Preach.

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