The Ultimate Measure

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Nothing worthwhile is easy… Always set your standards high.”

– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last Sunday I mentioned the idea of asking folks to not only mask but also wear baseball hats when they come to church, due to the paint that’s been flaking paint off the sanctuary ceiling. Erika Cohen-Maddaluno suggested a team name: The Parishioners. (Thus the photo here: Erika, Kerry Anne and myself in team hats… trying to keep things playful in these oh-so-serious times.)

These are serious times and many are feeling more anxious, scattered, uncertain, exhausted or off-balance than usual. Some of us are just trying to get through another day. Some have enough energy to “happify” others! And some continue to tackle weighty issues of social justice.  I’d like to give a shout-out to the Racial Justice Team, co-chaired by Nancy Lennhoff and Pat Grimm, for all of their work and efforts as we approach the weekend celebrating the legacy of civil rights martyr the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s a good time to reflect and hold ourselves accountable as an institution in the realm of civil rights and anti-racism. King once wrote, “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” He didn’t mince words!  Who wants to be lumped in with “protectors of the status quo” and “fraternities of the indifferent”? Sadly, history- especially civil rights history- shows us that churches have often fallen into that category.

We are still creating our own legacies and the legacy of North Parish.  Here’s hoping they would make the Rev. Dr. King glad.

Yours in work and play, comfort and challenge,

Rev. Lee