Chapel Newsletter Editorial
C H A P E L N E W S
"You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Rabbi Tarfon (c 70CE – 150CE)
"We do not live to win. We do not live even to finish. We live to persevere... Nothing more than this is necessary, but nothing less than this will do, until that new heaven and that new earth come…” Rev. Peter J. Gomes, former Harvard chaplain
At the end of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march 50 years ago, Martin Luther King gave a speech, often called “How Long, Not Long,” on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol. That question of “How Long?” comes to mind when we still see the need for Black Lives Matter protests around the country against racial profiling, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Real change can be so slow, when people are being mistreated and dying right now.
There are no good answers to why there is still such discrimination and violence despite the efforts of generations. But people long before us have faced this need to persevere in the work for a better world. We are called to move forward even if we do not know the way. And as we take that next step, we find courage in “the doing” and gain strength to continue the journey. We find love in the people around us who are also working for change and hope in the vision of a better world. We don’t have to finish the work—and indeed, we can’t and we won’t. But we can’t stop trying to bring that “new heaven and new earth” into reality. Nothing more than this is necessary. Nothing less than this will do.
"How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Martin Luther King, Jr., March 25, 1965
In faith and hope,
Carolyn Fure-Slocum, College Chaplain