As I stood with my sign for the Poor People’s Campaign on the Washington DC Mall listening to voices and stories from people on the margins of our society, I kept looking behind me wondering how many people were going to show up. In my mind’s eye I imagined those grainy photographs from the same location fifty years ago – a sea of people in black and white. Thousands of bodies standing together, packed in tight for a compelling cause.
This was a gathering of folks who have been standing at state houses on Mondays for the last six weeks in 40 states – surely, we would come close to filling the mall like those pictures from 1968! From our arrival at 10 AM 'til the time we started to march at 1:30 PM, there remained generous space before and behind me. I was disappointed. I imagined not just 10,000 people (based on the Facebook goal of getting 10,000 likes), but tens of thousands of people would show up, since “we are a new and unsettling force” as many placards proclaimed.
Then I realized others in government have gotten sucked into the numbers game of how many showed up on the Mall for an important event – did I really want to go there? And I remembered…
It was twelve men and many unnamed wealthy widows who showed up and changed the world. Twelve men and many wealthy widows are how many people Jesus had to work with and look what happened – transformation of the world that continues thousands of years later.
It matters that thousands did show up for the Poor People’s Campaign gathering on the Mall in DC on June 23, 2018. It also matters that 2 – 3 and 20 and even 100 people gather around Jesus on a regular basis because in the end it is a powerful thing that changes the world – people living the love and justice of Jesus.
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