Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Men And The Son Of Man

I am constantly amazed at what my students do not know about the struggle for civil rights in our country. It could be with my background in history that I expect this generation to have the same fascination with the past that I do. We toss around the word sacrifice loosely at times but there were plenty of men and women who sacrificed during that often dark time in our past. In my 8th grade class today, we talked of the Pharisees complaining about Jesus eating with sinners. We wrote down that 'eating together implies equality' and made the follow up point that one of the first targets of the civil rights movement was eating establishments. I'm not sure they made the connection but I hope they will eventually, that others struggled that they could live in a better world.This entry from 10-16-06 was on that topic.

There was a news item out of Iraq this weekend. In September, a Navy SEAL died serving his country. Every combat death can be seen as tragic and heroic but this one was sacrificial. Petty Officer Second Class Michael A. Monsoor was in a shed with three fellow SEALS when a grenade was thrown into their hideout. Without hesitation, Monsoor dove onto top of the explosive device, dying instantly as it detonated. His three comrades survived the blast. Monsoor was twenty-five.

I saw a PBS special last week on the civil rights movement and the Freedom Riders, a group of college students who traveled to the South in an effort to spur desegregation efforts. As one busload of the activists rolled into Montgomery in 1961, they were met by a mob at the bus station with no police presence in sight. One of the Riders, a white student from Wisconsin, volunteered to be the first to disembark. When the crowd saw a Caucasian young man standing up for the rights of African-Americans, they were enraged and jumped Jim Zwerg, assaulting him unmercifully. With the rioters attention diverted, a number of the black students were able to sprint to safety while Jim Zwerg was getting his teeth knocked out and his back broken. Several of the Freedom Riders interviewed credited Zwerg's bravery with giving them a chance to survive. He stepped into the mob and willingly took a beating for the benefit of all.

Stories like those two pull at our heart strings. We can become emotionally involved when we see valor and sacrifice so readily displayed in the defense of our fellow man. Michael Monsoor spared a trio of fellow Americans from a horrible death in a faraway land. Jim Zwerg enabled a number of like-minded protesters to escape, at least temporarily, the blows intended for their faces. Jesus Christ laid his life on the altar for all of us, even those who don't believe and don't care. If the examples of Michael Monsoor and Jim Zwerg can moisten our eyes, shouldn't the example of the Christ overwhelm us? We focus so much on his divinity that at times we overlook his humanity. Today, in my sophomore Bible classes, we noted how Jesus often referred to himself as the son of man. The divine part I get but the human side, I struggle with. Maybe that's why I am drawn to the stories above. I wish I could sacrifice like that. Once, a man did for all of us.

Applicable quote of the day:
"A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act."
Mohandas Gandhi

God bless,
Luke 18:1


E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Jon said...

That Navy seal guy is a true hero!!!

astrosfreak09 said...

Those are really inspiring stories. The only sad part of that kind of story is that we only hear about the heros who died to save others. We never hear about an Iraq soldier who went in and rescued Iraq civilians from a bomb, because he lived. And we never hear about interracial marriages between a black and a white person in the news, because we see it everywhere. And yet...they're both major impacts on society. Ya know, I mean the soldier saved the lives of people and is helping bridge a gap between being a man with a gun, and being a soldier. And the couple who decides to marry another race is still bridging the gap for us in civil rights, we may be integrated and be able to get along, but for some reason, people will still look at that couple out of the corner of their eye.
I think both stories are a true testimony to the will power of people and the greatest lengths we could go to, to show our love for other people, whether we're close to them or devoted to a stance.

God Bless
Downtown Brown

~Laura said...

I was touched deeply by your two accounts of the sacrificial valor of two young men on behalf of their "brothers." I, too, struggle with relating to the humanity of Christ,and the price He paid in his flesh as one of us. This is probably because I am blinded by the knowledge of His divinity. Although my comprehension is limited, I thank God for His exquisite plan of salvation.