A Man of Service
By Jesse Turner
I am a man of service, a wasted life, not I.
Bishop John Selders, today is the last day of my community service for my 5/23 Civil Disobedience Arrest for the Poor People’s Campaign. 44 days crime free. I did the crime, I done the time.
What have I learned?
Now, sign me up again for the next Moral Monday Action.
My grandfather always talked to me like I was an adult even as a child. He was born in the 1890’s, fought in the war to end all wars in 1917. He did not volunteer, the judge gave him a choice it’s the jail house, or go serve your country. It changed his life. He hated war, he hated violence, but he was a proud member of the Fighting 69th, proud member of VFW. His sons would fight in World War 2. His days of service did not end with the end of the war, no they had only began. He was the sop steward for his union, he was a member of his church parish council, he understood service means small and big sacrifices. In 63 when no one would go with him to the March On Washington, he took his name sake 8 year old grandson along for the ride. His grandson complained it’s hot Grandad…can I take off this tie, can I take off this jacket…. Go, ahead, but remember Dr. King will have his on. Even in that August DC heat, he never took his off. He said a man has to make small sacrifices. On the ride down we talked like adults, even though I was a mere boy of eight. He talked about justice, he talked about service. He took out his wallet. He said Little Jess take out that old folded piece of a paper, and read it to me? It was hard for me to read, but he helped me with the words as I struggled with, as he drove us to DC. He had it memorized, and he helped me with words like conscience, character, morality, humanity, sacrifice, and principle. Words like Westminster, and explained an Abbey is a place in a church, not just someone’s name. Those are big words, Little Jess, learn em, study em, and understand they will determine the kind of man you will become. So I Read: A sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson in Westminster Abbey, London, on March 20, 1925, “The Seven Social Sins are” “Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle.” Now, little Jess, these are words I learned to live by. These are the words I want you to learn to live by as well. Consider today your enlistment in the service of humanity.
So, Bishop John Selders, sign me up for more small sacrifices. I am ready, I am able, and I am willing to stand for our brothers and sisters in need of some hope, some justice, and some love. Put me back on the line for the Poor People’s Campaign, For, I am the grandson of a man of service.
Jesse “The Walking Man” Turner
If you like to listen to the song that inspires my service today…its Blowing in the Wind by that Noble Laureate Bob Dylan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l4nVByCL44