On this day 52 years ago, Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels, was shot and killed by an unemployed highway worker in Hayneville, Alabama as he tried to shield a sixteen year old girl from unexpected threats. He was killed by a blast from a 12 gauge gun.
In the letters and papers Daniels left, we hear the profound effect his time working for civil rights in Selma, Alabama left on him. He wrote,
"The doctrine of the creeds, the enacted faith of the sacraments, were the essential precondition of the experience itself. The faith with which I went to Selma has not changed: it has grown...I began to know in my bones and sinews that I had been truly baptized into the Lord's death and resurrection...with them, the black men and white men, with all life, in him whose Name is above all the names that the races and nations shout...We are indelibly and unspeakably one."
On Saturday Heather Heyer, a 32 year old paralegal who had a history of "working for civil rights," was killed by a blast from an angry white supremacist on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Where have we gone wrong?
Let us pray.
O God of justice and compassion, you put down the proud and mighty from their place, and lift up the poor and the afflicted: We give you thanks for your faithful witnesses Jonathan Myrick Daniels and Heather Heyer, who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave their lives for another; and we pray that we, following their example, may make no peace with oppression; through Jesus Christ the just one, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (the collect for today from Holy women, Holy Men)