Dear Parishioners and Friends,
One of the things I enjoy about the Wednesday morning Eucharist in the chapel is being reminded of the lives and deeds of the saints. When we think of saints, our imaginations take us to places far away and long ago, but time and geography mean nothing to God. Indeed, saints can be much closer to us than we think.
Today for example, we celebrated the life and witness of Jonathan Myrick Daniels. He is recognized on the Episcopal Church’s calendar of holy men and women. Daniels was born in New Hampshire, and joined the Episcopal Church in high school. During his graduate studies in Massachusetts, he attended Easter services at Boston’s Church of the Advent where he experienced a deep conversion and devoted himself to God’s service. While attending the Episcopal Theological School, he was moved by an appeal from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for ministers of all faiths to join him in Alabama for a march for voting rights. After participating in the march, he returned to seminary. It was there that during evensong, the words of the Magnificat—the Song of Mary—inspired him to return to Alabama.
One hot August day, he and his companions approached a small store to buy refreshments. Before they could enter the store, they were confronted by a man wielding a shotgun who began to curse them. At one point, the man pointed his gun at a seventeen-year-old black girl, Ruby Sales. Daniels immediately pushed her out of the way and took a direct hit to the chest, dying instantly. His body was returned to his hometown in New Hampshire. As for the shooting, after two hours of deliberation, an all-white jury issued a “not guilty” verdict on grounds of self defense.
The work of Jonathan and his companions is far from done. In a time of increasing hatred and racism, his passion for the unity of God’s children, inspired by the words of Jesus’ mother, continue to be a potent lesson for us all.
Blessings, Father Rick