Today the Episcopal Church commemorates martyr, Jonathan Daniels. Bright with the light of faith and social conscience he joined a growing voice for civil rights in the 1960’s. After hearing Martin Luther King speak, he left seminary to share in the work of social justice in Selma, Alabama. He was arrested in Ft. Deposit, Alabama, in 1965, and was shot dead six days later in Hayneville, jumping in front of a young girl whom the deputy sheriff intended to kill.
From his writings we learn of his deep faith and commitment to equality. Listen closely – they ring true for us today.
He writes, “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 and white men, with all life, in him whose Name is above all the names that the races and nations. We are indelibly and unspeakably one.”
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 witness Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave his life for another; and we pray that we, following his 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 (from Lesser Feasts and Fasts)