Selma: A Look at America at its Best & Worst

My wife Charlotte and I recently viewed the movie Selma. I would strongly encourage everyone to see it, though they need to be prepared for what they will witness. It was emotionally gripping and at times heart-wrenching. It is one story of the civil rights movement in our nation’s history as black men and women sought the simple and basic right to vote. That anyone was ever denied this right in our country because of race and ethnicity is a blight on the American promise of “freedom and justice for all.”

The movie is a portrait of evil and good, courage and cowardice. Black persons showed remarkable, courage, perseverance and restrain as they fought peaceably for what should have been theirs all along. Did they do everything right? No, but most of the time they did in their battle for basic human and American rights. The actions and reactions of white persons is a mixed bag. I am proud of and thankful for those who marched with black men and women form Selma to Montgomery. I am also deeply grieved and embarrassed by the bigotry and brutality of other white people who shouted “nigger” and wielded clubs and tire irons during the week and then went to church on Sunday and sang “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…” The hypocrisy is breathtaking and a further evidence of the depravity and wickedness of the human heart. It certainly moved me to greater introspection and reflection.

By God’s grace, and the grace of God is clearly depicted throughout the movie, we are no longer in Selma. However, we have not yet arrived at the New Jerusalem either, where every tribe, tongue, people and nation will gather around one throne worshiping the same Savior because we all have the same Father and therefore are members of the same family! That glorious day is an eschatological promise. Our hope and prayer should be that the future might once again break into the present and the Kingdom of God might manifest itself among us today. That is what I dream of. That is what I will continue to work for. By God’s grace and for His glory, may we see it happen in our lifetime.