Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Head Light or Tail Light?

I spent last week at a conference in Atlanta entitled, Summit for Leadership and Evangelical Justice. I just got back home to Petersburg late Thursday night. And I'm still processing all the information and thoughts and feelings I encountered at the Summit for Leadership and Evangelical Justice. 

Sunday afternoon, we worshiped together with members of the Southeastern Synod in a gorgeous church in downtown Atlanta, GA, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. The worship and remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. was tremendous. Following that was a meeting with Rep. John Lewis, the congressman from the 5th district, which includes downtown Atlanta.

Rep. Lewis told us his story, taking us back to his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King. The session concluded with questions. One little boy went up to Rep. Lewis and asked him if it hurt when he was beaten during various encounters with authorities during the era of the Jim Crow laws. As Rep. Lewis spoke to the boy, showing him the scars, telling him it did hurt, tears were coming down the young man's cheeks. For our first day of the conference, that was probably the image that sticks with me the most.

A challenge that Rep. Lewis gave us as leaders in the church was to lead. He used the analogy of a car with headlights and tail lights. Are we head lights or tail lights? Of course to be good leaders of God's people, we must be followers as well, as Sunday's gospel reminds us.

Considering Rep. Lewis' humble leadership and the impact he has had, I was moved. Am I a head light or a tail light? What about you?

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