The Solidarity of Paris, Selma, and the Cross

From a rooftop window, a view of the people who swarmed the Place de la République on Sunday for a rally described as the largest in modern French history. (Peter Dejong/Associated Press)
From a rooftop window, a view of the people who swarmed the Place de la République on Sunday for a rally described as the largest in modern French history. (Peter Dejong/Associated Press)

The violent acts in France of extremists trying to divide and conquer have actually brought people together. I watched in awe as reporters interviewed people of various faiths, cultures, and languages, who all came together declaring with pride “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). I was amazed as leaders from various nations demonstrated visible support for people they never met.

But what struck me the most were the demonstrators who stood in a line holding up a single word: SOLIDARITY.

The word solidarity means unity or agreement among individuals, especially around a common cause. Those who gathered in France stood in solidarity with those who lost their lives. They came together against the common enemy of terrorism, realizing that no one is immune from being a target of evil.

As we reflect on the day set aside to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we cannot help but remember the good that can come when many people gather together in solidarity as one. During the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King and those who worked with him became magnets for people of all races, classes, ages and states to walk in unity against the evils of injustice. Through marches, sit-ins and demonstrations, thousands of people came together declaring that all are one and one represents us all.

By coming together to fight the common enemies of discrimination and segregation, laws and policies were changed to create better lives for all Americans. Through the power of solidarity, the negative experiences of a few became the primary concern of many. In short, this unity drove positive change for everyone.

The concept of solidarity is not an unfamiliar one for Christians. As believers in Jesus Christ, we understand that what God did through Christ on the cross represents solidarity at its best. By dying for the world, Jesus took on our sins, and although He was just one person, he represented us all. According to Paul, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV).

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SOURCE: The Charlotte Observer
The Rev. Nicole Martin is executive minister at The Park Church in Charlotte, NC.

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