The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.

Just got home from seeing Selma.

Lord, have mercy.

I can't stop thinking about the babies. Those little girls, just talking about getting their hair wet at their baptisms and—BOOM—silenced. How senseless. How disgusting. How terrorizing, inhuman.

Adults who marched—to their deaths, for some—had, at the very least, consented to demonstrate, consented to stand up and defy injustice and risk their lives for freedom. But those babies. Those precious girls. It won't leave my head.

At one point, Dr. King phoned Mahalia Jackson and she sang to him, late at night:

Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me on.

I wept. I sang, silently, along. What else can I say? What else can I do? Take my hand, precious Lord.

I resonated so deeply with every gospel call in the film. Of course I did. That's why they said those things. That's why we say those things. We quote our scriptures and sing our hymns to remind ourselves that we are not alone. We are not the first to seek the comfort and encouragement of God, and we will not be the last.

I cannot say, like was said to Corretta, that I come from a legacy of courageous black folks who survived and pushed forward—and were beaten and murdered—to prepare the way for me. But even as a white pastor, I do come—quite directly—from a legacy of courageous white folks who heard Dr. King's cry and stood by his side to march—from Selma to Montgomery, in fact—to seek the same justice for their friends and neighbors.

The two pastors who raised me were—and are—tireless advocates for racial equality in the United States. They taught me to use the power and privilege I have to defend and promote the gospel—and with it, every child of God.

For Pastor Bill, Pastor Ray, Dr. King, and all who share the faith, I proclaim the Gospel of liberation, equality, love, and justice.

That is my call. That is my vocation. That is my challenge. That is my job. Thanks be to God.

O Lord, throughout these forty days...

New year, same me.