GREATER THAN OUR PAIN

Elijah Cummings 1951-2019I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

 

We lost a beloved leader last month. United States Congressman from Maryland Elijah Cummings, a sharecropper’s son and civil rights champion, died on October 17, 2019 at the age of sixty-eight. Cummings’ booming bass voice was a beacon for the poor in his black-majority district of Baltimore. Amid partisan politics, Cummings challenged his fellow legislators to “stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior.” He believed deeply in our nation’s democratic government, which George Washington called “the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.”

 

Those who knew Cummings understood that he endured much physical pain. In 2017, Cummings underwent a minimally invasive heart procedure, which led to an infection that kept him in the hospital longer than expected. He was later hospitalized for a knee infection. During his last days in Washington, he moved with obvious difficulty, using a cane and a walker. Following his death, his body was brought to the Capitol rotunda for public respects to be paid. Many prominent dignitaries, including two presidents, spoke at Cummings memorial service. But to me, the one who best described Cummings was his own congressional aide, Harry Spikes. Traveling together, Spikes and his mentor-boss spent many hours talking and sharing their perspectives. Spikes reported that Cummings never seemed to experience pain when he was speaking publicly about his passion for our democracy, human rights and the marginalized in our society. He told Spikes: “Remember to be greater than your pain.” At one of his last speaking opportunities, the topic was religion and racism. The crowd stood when he entered the room. Humbled, Cummings said, “I am going to stand up for you until I die.” He kept that promise.

 

Cummings had a profound faith in God and in our democracy. We can look to the words of the Apostle Paul to inspire us to follow the congressman. Like Cummings, Paul spoke of a future bright with promise in Jesus Christ. In Romans 8, Paul says, “those who live according to the Spirit (of Christ) set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” This is the key to life and peace.

 

Father God, we thank You for “the great cloud of witnesses” like Elijah Cummings who have gone before us. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

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