Looking straight at the red-necked sheriff in a small Mississippi town, Sidney Poitier’s character responds to the question: “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” Whether it was this film or the “Guess who’s Coming to Dinner” made the same year pointing out that so-called liberals were just as unsure about race, Poitier was elegant.
My favorite film of his, however, is “Lilies of the Field,” when as Homer Smith, an iterant wanderer, he ends up building a chapel in the Arizona desert for German refugee nuns and teaching them an old spiritual, “Amen,” as he leaves, his job done.
A gentle soul, Poitier died at the age of 94 on January 7. .An actor who could have rested on his laurels, he participated in the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage, the March on Washington, and the Poor People’s Campaign of1968. He continued to support faith-based nonviolent causes for racial harmony and justice. He spoke for God’s justice and
righteousness. He believed in hope.
Prayer for the Day
Embracing us with light, we welcome you, gentle Spirit,
For your presence opens us to joy and beauty;
We are humbled by your gifts to us beyond number,
And speak out gratitude for all we have.
God of winter skies, may we see beauty in the outlines
Of the trees that will burst open in the spring.
In the name of the One who shares beauty with us,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.
- Thornton Wilder, American novelist and playwright (1897-1975)
Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death. When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death’s punctuation mark is a smile.
- Julie Burchill, British journalist and writer
You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth.
From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust, and say “Turn back, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past,
Or like a watch in the night.
Psalm 90: 1-4