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Few United States governors will ever be as immortalized in popular culture as the late Alabama populist, George C. Wallace. The rock band Lynyrd Skynrd praised him in Sweet Home Alabama (“In Birmingham they love the guv-nah!”). Then Forrest Gump introduced new generations to his infamous stand at the school house door, attempting to block blacks from admission to the University of Alabama in 1963.
In fact, the Forrest Gump news footage is the only picture most people have of the Governor today—a defiant obstructionist with jutted jaw and curled lip, shouting “Segregation forever!”
But there’s another picture of Wallace. While campaigning for president in 1972, Wallace survived an assassination attempt; but the bullet fired into him left him paralyzed in the legs. His brush with death got him to thinking about eternity, and he gave his life to Christ in 1983.
As the heavenly Ruler began to influence him, the earthly ruler began to change. One day, Wallace appeared unannounced at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This is the church Martin Luther King, Jr., was pastoring when he launched the civil rights movement in the 50s. Mr. Wallace wheeled his way to the front of the church where three hundred black ministers were concluding a day-long conference.
A hush fell over the crowd.
“I never had hate in my heart for any person,” he said, “but I regret my support of segregation and the pain it caused the black people of our state and nation.” Amid cries of “amen” and “yes, Lord,” he continued. “Segregation was wrong, and I am sorry.”
Two images of George Wallace. Hopefully the enduring image will not be the segregationist but the humbled, wheelchair-bound penitent, saying “I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
Jesus said, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Do it while you are still with him on the way [to judgment]” (Matthew 5:25). The last and lasting image you want to bring before the throne of God is that of a humbled penitent saying to the one you hurt, “I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
This Sunday at Hillcrest, we’ll look closely at Christ’s command regarding anger and contempt of others. It’s part of the “Extreme Makeover” he wants for our lives. Join us at the 9:30am “Bold Blend” service or the 10:45am “Smooth Blend” service, or listen online Monday (iTunes; website).
We Need Your Wedding Photos! Actually, we need two photos: one from your wedding day (or a photo from when you first met) and one recent photo as well. We also need your date of marriage. All printed photos will be
returned. All photos are due by April 29 but we would like yours ASAP. Bring photos to Jami or Karen at the office for scanning or submit a digital shot to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Jami and Karen are helping me create a photo montage for my sermon on marriage in May. The montage will be set to a
Baptism and Communion This Sunday. If you need to follow Christ in baptism, or if you’re ready to join the church, contact me right away.
Impact Your World! Just as you need regular updates to your CPR training, you need regular updates to your INVITE training. Plan to come to our INVITE Strategy Workshop on Sunday, April 29, 5:30pm. Learn more in Herb’s article.
Youth News. During the 30-Hour Famine, the youth raised approximately $1,600 to be used to feed starving children throughout the world. More in Jim’s article.
Links to Your World
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