O The Joy of Justice

“When justice is done it is a joy to the righteous…” [Proverbs 21:15]

 Do you know what time it is?  It’s March Madness time! It’s a time of year that most basketball enthusiasts are deeply entrenched in a series of events that surround the single-elimination of Division I college basketball tournaments performed each spring across the U.S.  Routinely, the main tournaments involved are the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Championship and the NCAA Women’s Division 1 Basketball Championship.  The tournaments’ nickname, “March Madness”, originated in the 20th century and was later adopted by the media.

And Madness it is because over several weeks of broadcasting these tournaments, the media is so intrinsically engaged until the tournaments dominate regular programming schedule of shows.  Needless to say, March Madness becomes maddening and takes its toll on the nerves of not-so-enthused viewers who would rather watch their usual TV sitcoms, reality shows, and movies.  Where’s the joy in that?

Isn’t it interesting what enthuses us and gives us joy. Sports fans joyfully clamor for expensive tickets for admission into championships by the droves, and TV viewers joyfully purchase recorders and other electronics to insure that they don’t miss a minute of their favorite daily TV shows. These levels of euphoria are fine in a matter of speaking, but dare I say that there is so more, much more to become joyful about… especially in the month of March.

Take for instance the observance of the 1965 Selma March as well as its depiction in the movie SELMA that won an academy award for the song by Common and John Legend. O the joy of it all that was written about, featured on Twitter, broadcasted by the media, and expressed by the moving tears of Hollywood stars both black and white. Conversely however, their tears didn’t begin to match the tears shed by the Selma marcher because this march was costly…people gave their lives both black and white for the cause of justice.

The Selma march was a massive, 5-day, 54 mile march of non-violent demonstrators from Selma to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965 led by Dr. Martin Luther King.  The march and the unprecedented violence that ensued because of it, led to the enactment of the Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965—legislation giving black men and women in this country the right to vote.  

In his annual address to the Student Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) a few days later, Dr. King noted that ‘‘Montgomery led to the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and 1960; Birmingham inspired the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Selma produced the voting rights legislation of 1965’’ (King, 11 August 1965).

O the Joy of Justice!


Rev. Lurecie M. Stokes

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