Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.

12-9-06

THIS TIME IT’S FIFTY, FIVE AND A CAR - Part IV

And Now We BuryWe met at 125th Street and Madison Ave., at 8:00 a.m., in the area where the House of Justice used to be. Back across the Tri-borough Bridge we drove, Rev. Sharpton and Attorney Michael Hardy. It was a bright chilly morning, a stark contrast to the night before.

Family and friends were already inside the funeral parlor. Nicole was standing transfixed at the foot of the coffin. I wanted to say something. I wanted to embrace her and tell her Sean is in a better place and she is going to be all right. But I didn’t want to intrude. She seemed in outer space or in another world. I thought, maybe she is dreaming of yesterdays and tomorrows, of what was and what might have been. I nodded. She nodded back.

They kept coming to the casket, praying, crying and shaking their heads. . . Sean was neatly dressed in a black shadow striped suit. His hair was closely cut as in the pictures we have seen so often. He seemed at peace, just sleeping. It was hard to believe this handsome young man who lay before us, but a few days before, was a breathing, moving, living human being.

We headed to Nassau Knoll Cemetery in Nassau County. The police escort, the hearse, Bishop Williams’s car, Rev. Sharpton’s car and three long white limousines for the family and what appeared to be an endless parade of cars, slowly moved toward the burial ground. It was an hour’s ride. I have been to many cemeteries, they are all the same, green grass, trees, rolling hills and tombstones – even where there is uniformity, tombstones are somewhere in the distant. Yet, they are all different. Each cemetery has its own distinctive characteristics.

The cameras were strategically situated outside of the cemetery. Once inside, we waited at the top of the hill. It seemed the funeral cars would never stop coming. We counted at least sixty. When all the cars were parked, we walked across the rolling green grass and gathered around the gravesite. Bishop Williams commenced the final ceremony. He ended with a familiar quote, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. . .” while throwing flowers up on the casket.

Slowly and reluctantly mourners began to head to their cars. Nicole, still dazed, started to move away, then almost fell. Rev. Sharpton held her up until help arrived. She remained in place and then was firmly led away sobbing, shaking her head still leaning on the arms of Rev. Sharpton and relatives.

We said good-bye to the family and friends at the restaurant. After funerals and burials there is always a place to eat, and with love and support, regain composure. The restaurant is where the reception was to be held. As we were moving away, it seemed that the family had regained self-control. I wondered for how long? Would Nicole ever be the same? There is an incredible capacity in the human make-up, to endure and move on. I pray she will be able to move on.

We arrived at the National Action Network’s rally as it was ending. It was held at Emmanuel AME Church at 119th Street. Rev. Clinton Miller, assemblyman Karim Camaro, and assemblyman elect Hakeem Jeffries had already spoken. Rev. Sharpton delivered an informative, inspirational speech detailing all the actions and non-actions around the shooting. I marveled at his energy and creativity. I spoke afterwards, expanding upon the fourth person theme. I talked about the fourth person who had saved me and called me to the ministry.

At two-thirty, I was at my church in Brooklyn. Ron Daniels was having his monthly Institute of the Black World. The speakers were journalist George Curry, Prof. Crenshaw, and Glenn Ford. Council member Barron gave an update on the shooting. I ended the program giving a report on the situation in Darfur, Sudan. I urged people to participate in Sabbath on Sudan December 8-10 and join us Monday, December 11 at 11:00 a.m. at the United Nations for our Prayer Vigil. We concluded with the usually Harambee-pulling together - seven times holding our breath as long as we can on the last Harambee. I always wished what we were saying was really true.

Downstairs were food and fellowship. Curry recognized the picture of Jesse, his family and I with the Pope at the Vatican. Curry went with us on that journey. It was 1985. We reflected on memorable events during that trip.

When I departed, people were still at the church. Driving home I heard the report, a march had occurred in Jamaica starting at the Kalua Club. It was sponsored by the New Black Panther Party. They were calling for a boycott of fifty days to match the number of bullets that were fired into the car.

I heard another news item. Former Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, had sent a memo to President Bush emphasizing a need for change in Iraq. In other corners of the globe there were tears and sorrow as Mother Nature went on a rampage sending floods, fires, and destructive winds. And to the great dismay and sorrow of the University of Southern California (USC) and their fans, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) defeated the highly favored USC football team, smashing their dream of playing Ohio State for the national championship. What a strange, mysterious mixture is the stuff of life - - - pathos and humor, agony and ecstasy, birth and death, sunshine and rain, storm and calm, love and hate, all happening at the same time.

There in a burial place, members of the human family weep over a loved one gone from them forever. Yonder across the ocean, in a land called Darfur, members of the human family are slaughtered by other members of the family.

In a church in Harlem, devotees of Rev. Sharpton made plans for future action between shouts of “No justice, no peace.” In another church, in the same city, journalist and professor share their knowledge and experience and all joined together and raised their voices in seven harambees.

In the blood soaked country of Iraq, the U. S. resigned secretary of defense, was saying there is a need for change after having conveyed a rosy picture for years. And out on the West Coast, USA, some cry and some rejoice over a footfall game.

What does it all mean? Is there a plan? Is there a purpose? Are we but the playthings of fate or chance or some unfeeling supreme being? Is it true what we learn from Shakespeare’s Mac Beth,? “Life’s a poor player that frets and strut itself on the stage, . . . full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Is it really true what Robert G. Ingersoll said at his brother’s funeral,? “Whether at mid sea or among the breakers of the father shore, a wreck must mark at last the end of each and all. Life is a thin veil between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, but the only voice heard is the echo of our wailing cries.”

Nay, but there is meaning and there is purpose! There is goodness, righteousness, justice and mercy. There is love and yes, there is immortality! Faith declares it to be so. Atheism and cynicism may say something else but I’ll take my stand with faith.

To be continued
12-8-06 SAVE THE PEOPLE OF DARFUR
Human Rights’ Day Prayer & Rally
December 11, 2006

Where: Assemble for Prayer:
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
(Isaiah Wall)
East 42nd Street & 1st Avenue NYC
Save Darfur Rally:
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza 47th Street & 2nd Avenue, NYC

Attention Clergy: participate in Sabbath on Sudan II. . .in your religious ceremonies on December 8, 9 & 10 we ask that you include reference to Darfur
For further information call l (718) 596-1991or our see website: www.holnj.org

The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry is featured in The Daily Challenge’s Wednesday and Weekend Edition. Reverend Daughtry, known as the “People’s Pastor,” is the National Presiding Minister of the House of the Lord Churches (HOLC). He also pastors the Brooklyn Church. A prolific writer, his books include “No Monopoly on Suffering, Blacks and Jews in Crown Heights,” “My Beloved Community,” “Effectual Prayer,” and “Tupac, Letters to a Son.” HOLC has a weekly broadcast which airs on WWRL 1600 on Sunday from 10:30am-11:00am. He is also on BCAT the 2nd and 4th Sundays at 2pm. Website: www.holnj.org

 

12-6-06