In the book of Lamentations, we find a verse that talks about new mercies from God provided to us each morning. Specifically, the third chapter of Lamentations, verses 22 and 23, the Bible says (22), “It is the Lords mercies that we are not consumed because his mercies, compassion fails not.” (23) “They are new every morning.” These powerful verses were the basis of a song by CeCe Winans, around 1996. In my mind, it is the basis of the old song we sang in the church I went to as a child that says, “Take the Lord with you in the morning when I rise.” It may be the basis of books and poems with similar titles using the phrase, “When I rise.”
The point here is that we suffer indignities, day after day, in our lives but the morning comes and blessings come with the rising of the sun. Sometimes the ones who did the insults and indignities to us don’t get to enjoy the rising of the morning sun.
This verse comes to me as my own personal daily bread after hearing the story of the woman who drove her children into the ocean this past week. This is an example of a self-inflicted indignity. When we see a drug bust, or a murder, we all hold our breaths to see if the culprit is Black. In the case of the woman who drove into the ocean, my wife told me she thought her name sounded Black. I later learned her name is Ebony. Say no more.
It came to me when I learned the name of Debo Adegbile, who our President nominated to be the head of the United States Justice Department Civil Rights Division. It seems that Attorney Adegbile, who when he worked as an NAACP attorney, wrote a brief on behalf of a man named Mumia Abu–Jamal who was facing a death sentence in the alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer. This was good enough of an excuse for the Republican-dominated Congress, joined by a few Democrats, to vote ‘no’ on Adegbile’s appointment. And so President Obama will have to wait and figure another way to get Adegbile into the office where he needs to be.
The reason for the appointment of Adegbile is that he has been called the Thurgood Marshall of our day. He is needed to fight the fight to overturn the state laws that are dedicated to overturning our right to vote and other recent laws aimed at vetoing our civil rights. The son of a Nigerian father and Irish mother lost 47 to 52. He overcame childhood poverty and sometimes homelessness to rise to become a lawyer. A real rags to riches story. I guess he was the beneficiary of the Lord’s mercies. Most importantly, that story is not over.
It should be noted which Democrats voted ‘no’ on the appointment. They include: Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Chris Coons of Delaware; Joe Donnelly of Indiana; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; Joe Manchin, III of West Virginia; Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and John Walsh of Montana. If you have friends in those states, let them know that their senator is standing in the way of our progress. Senate majority leader Harry Reid also voted ‘no’, but the purpose was to guarantee that he could re-call the vote at another time.
It is the biblical verses that talk of God’s new mercies, morning by morning that keep us going, Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright reminds us of this in one of his famous messages about God’s mercies and our progress when he says, “How is it that 370 years of being used as a breeder, a toy for the master, a punching bag for Willie Lee, being messed on and messed over, walked on and walked out on . . . how is it that 370 years of that does not kill the spirit of Queen Ann Nzinga, Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Hadassah, and the rebel Queen Esther who defiantly said, “If I perish, I perish”? I was taught that it is because of God’s mercies. I was taught to hold on, don’t give up, and keep fighting. With the morning comes new mercies.
In the morning when I rise!