Rev Marjory MacLean
Fifty years ago today, President John F Kennedy gave a radio broadcast to the American people and announced the introduction of a new law that was to become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. With a promised end to all sorts of injustices, including racial segregation in education and other areas of community life, Mr Kennedy must have seemed to many in the United States to be switching on a light of liberation, a light they would long to pursue until a time of real longed-for freedoms. It must have seemed like a path being traced out into the future and made visible by the lamps of promises and policies.
Fifty years into that future we look back in the light of history and we know that between that promise in June 1963 and the passing of the Act the following year lay the violent death of the President, suddenly ending the story of his political life and the changes it was bringing to his country. But the shining promise of civil rights was not quenched by his death, and at last prevailed over many years that followed. That was a light that shone beyond the life that contained it, and that is always the legacy of the best-remembered of people.
All around the world men and women of faith are guided and comforted by the same promise, that the goodness and kindness of today will shine through into tomorrow, even if we are not there, tomorrow, to notice it.O light of the past, the present and all time to come, help us to see our path lit in front of us, guiding us in the way of making peace and showing love. Make us unafraid to serve even those who come after us, and care about the world beyond our own lives. AMEN