John Lewis Was a Living Saint

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

I met John several times here in Atlanta. Those of us involved in human rights, women’s rights, LBGTQ rights, and even animal rights in Atlanta, saw John on innumerable occasions. He was always kind, gentle, accepting, and one of the most exceptional listeners ever born. You couldn’t be around John without experiencing his emanating grace, light, love, and truth when you were in his Presence.

John Lewis Was a Living Saint

I grew up Roman Catholic learning about the trials and tribulations of humans that eventually became Saints of the Church. Dictionaries define a saint as someone who has died and been recognized and honored by the Christian church because his or her life was a perfect example of how Christians should live. John Lewis’s life decisions and actions were grounded in Scripture. He lived out the Gospel every day of his life. John inspired each of us to be better human beings. He always turned the other cheek, loved others as himself, and spent a lifetime being the Good Samaritan, picking the voiceless out of the proverbial ditch and lifting them up for redemption.

John Lewis Made Good Trouble

John Lewis spent over 60 years making “good trouble,” as he called it. Many of us grew up being told to stay out trouble, but John dissected trouble into two forms, bad trouble, and good trouble. Good trouble is stand up, speak up, speak out for the powerless and voiceless in our world. He inspired untold millions with his loving, Divine, awing Presence. There is even a film called Good Trouble that explores his 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration.

Reflections on John Lewis’s Magnificent Life

I wanted to cite some of the inspirational words spoken about John Lewis the day after his death.

“With the passing of John Lewis, America has lost not only a man of history, but a man for our season; O how we need such men of unwavering principle, unassailable character, penetrating purpose, and heartfelt compassion.”

Mitt Romney

“Saints are willing to die, to suffer, for their devotion to an ideal. John’s instinct was to live with reversals. Be kind when your instinct is to be cruel. When our human instinct is to be greedy, be giving. John Lewis is a transcendent figure in history. John Lewis believed love was not an ideal, love is a reality. When you were with John, it felt like you were in the Presence of another worldliness.”

John Meacham

“We all need to inherit John’s fierce optimism. He never, ever, ever gave into despair. His effervescent optimism never failed him.”

David Remnick

“The most powerful force on earth will always be unarmed truth and love. Most people measure life on wealth and possessions. John’s measure of life was an undaunted commitment to justice for all. He taught us what hope is. Hope is callous, hope is bloody battle, hope is a muscle that needs to be flexed every single day. He saw dignity and Divinity in all people.”

Senator Cory Booker


You may also like