Closely look at this picture. In this photograph, you will notice that Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle, in 1963, delivered the invocation at the March on Washington. This picture is intriguing. We have a White Catholic spiritual leader praying in front of thousands of people with Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Black Protestant spiritual leader, who would later be "American's Minister." Who could forecast that Dr. King would deliver a dream that would make God smile?
Here is the first miracle. In Dr. King's "I have a Dream," speech he spoke about seeing "little black boys and black girls ... able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." When scanning the images on August 28, 2020, you can see individuals from different races walking together. Many of the individuals who attended the march were younger than 57. His grand-daughter, Yolanda Renee King, spoke these words, "We are the dreams of our grandparents, great grandparents and ancestors." She closed her speech in the rhythmic African American tradition of call and response. Yolanda King shouted, "Show me what democracy looks like?" And the crowd responded, "This is what democracy looks like."
Dr. King's vision became a reality; he did not see the dream, but we did. The march's images reminded me of the old spiritual lyrics, "walk together children; there is a great camp meeting in the promised land." Seen often lately on T.V. are goups of differing nationality reguarding Black Lives Matter issues. Across the world people are unifying their voices to speak for justice where injustice lives. However, we must not stop working now; there are more miracles to come.
It is even more fascinating that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said these words concerning churches in 1956;"I must not stop with a criticism of Protestantism. I am disturbed about Roman Catholicism." Disturbed about segregation in the churches, Dr. King added, "You have a white church, and you have a Negro church. You have allowed segregation to creep into the doors of the church. How can such a division exist in the true Body of Christ? You must face the tragic fact that when you stand at 11:00 on Sunday morning to sing "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name" and "Dear Lord and Father of all Mankind," you stand in the most segregated hour of Christian America."
The second miracle that transpired is the profound moment on August 28, 2020, when the "segregated hour" that is practiced on Sunday morning did not occurred. How about that! Several faith traditions shared their belief system of equality and justice for all. They were determined to fulfill the prayer of Jesus, "I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, words of Jesus" (Jn. 17:22-23). Some churches opened their doors to provide comfort and water, and avoided proselytizing and evangelizing. For this day, churches stood for solidarity outside of their four walls. Of course this took place in 1963, but to see this unity again is remarkable. Other than in heaven, when will we see this happen again? I know I may not see it in my lifetime; therefore, this was nothing short of a miracle. God was smiling at creation working towards equality, because we are all made in God's image, breathing the same air, walking with red blood.
I am sure more miracles took place. What did this March on Washington mean to you? What did you hear and see? Please add your response in the comment box below.
Author: Michael P. Howard, M.A.