Saturday, May 16, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

There is a place in God's sun for the youth "farthest down"
who has the vision, the determination, and the courage to reach it. Mary McLeod Bethune

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being. Goethe

The whole world opened to me when I learned to read. Mary McLeod Bethune

Opening Prayer
O Son of God, change my heart.
Your Spirit compasses the songs of the birds
and the buzz of the bees.
Your creation is a million wondrous miracles,
beautiful to look upon.
I ask of you just one more miracle,
Beautify my soul.

Praying Our History
Mary McLeod Bethune died on this day in 1955. In 1904 she took $1.50 and five little girls and began the school which later became Bethune-Cookman College. Today the school enrolls 3,ooo students from 35 countries and has an endowment of $26 million.

Bethune also founded the National Council of Negro Women and served as Director of Negro Affairs in FDR's National Youth Administration. She was part of Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet." Eventually she became advisor to four Presidents. Ebony magazine named her one of the "50 Most Important Figures in Black U.S. History."

Mary McLeod Bethune joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1924. She was elected a delegate to the 1928 General Conference and was reelected every four years until her death.

She was not reluctant to voice her opinion about her church: "The voice of the Church has not been heard, clearly. A strong, unequivocal acceptance of the truth that there is no second class citizenship in God's world has been lacking. The church has trailed social advances. Many times the great old hymns have been sung off key."

A Prayer for Teachers
O God, you are the fullness of Wisdom.
Through prophets, poets, and sages
you have called us and taught us
to follow your way daily.
In Jesus Christ your Wisdom became flesh,
teaching by word and example.
We have not yet fully comprehended or accepted
all that he taught, all that he did, all that he still is today.

We thank you for those who seek to teach
children, youth, and adults --
in family and church settings
and in schools, colleges, and universities.
We thank you for those teachers
whose Wisdom most influenced our own lives.

May the spirit of Mary McLeod Bethune
fill all whom we call "teacher"
until we attain the fullness of your desire for us.

A Blessing
In her final Will and Testament, Mary McLeod Bethune expressed the legacy which she desired to leave with others. (This selection has been adapted.)

"I leave you Love ... Hope . . . the Challenge of developing confidence in one another . . . a Thirst for education . . . Respect for the uses of power . . . Faith . . .Racial dignity . . . a Desire to live harmoniously with all people . . . and, finally a Responsibility to our young people. The Freedom-Gates are half-ajar. We must pry them fully open.

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