2/5/2011 — Active Sitting

I’m just sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away…
-Otis Redding 

Greensboro Sit-Ins

Most of the time we don’t think very highly of sitting. We’ve become an action based society, wanting to always move forward, and sitting seems so … passive. Oh sure, in the techno world of today most of sit more than we walk or run, and as we sit our minds are pretty active. Yet, how often do we find ourselves thinking that we need to get out of our chairs and “do something!!!”

Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, and Franklin McCain were like many college students. They wanted to do something to strike a blow against the segregation of the time. So on the morning of February 1, 1960, they got up, went to the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Greesboro, NC, and sat down…

They sat for freedom. They sat to make a statement. They sat to get on the nerves of the store manager who just wanted them to go away. 

Most important of all, in their sitting, they waited. They waited for the world to change in their sitting. That waiting was far from passive, for it took every inch of their will to not become impatient and give up the cause. They trusted that the truth would eventually speak, and by February 5 with the arrival of 300 of their friends and colleagues, truth began to be seen on the horizon. 

The psalmist writes: “O tarry and await the Lord’s pleasure; be strong and he shall comfort your heart: wait patiently for the Lord.”

Is my sitting passive or active? Am I simply “wasting time” (to quote Otis Redding) or am I actively waiting for God to show up and guide me toward the truth? How am I using even my sitting to further the goals of God’s kingdom?

May our sitting down and our rising up contribute Lord, to your kingdom’s work.*

*Prayer from “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okora; Copyright (c) 2010 by The Simple Way and School for Conversation. All Rights Reserved. 

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