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  • Reverend James Squire

God’s Minute

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Baltimore who served in the House of Representatives, died in October of 2019. A prophetic voice, he recited a 46-word poem in his very first speech to Congress. The poem was a guidepost for him, and I find it to be inspiring. It has two titles: “Just a Minute” and “God’s minute”.

I have only a minute.

Sixty seconds in it.

Forced upon me, I did not choose it,

But I know that I must use it.

Give account if I abuse it.

Suffer, if I lose it.

Only a tiny little minute,

But eternity is in it.

When I read this poem, I see something different each and every time that moves my soul. The poem is familiar to some. I have found that reading each line multiple times takes on the role of a meditation.

When we think of people who influenced The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, one of the first people comes to mind is Ghandi. Certainly Ghandi’s non-violent philosophy influenced King, but there is another person who perhaps had greater influence on Dr. King, The Reverend Dr. Benjamin Mays, President of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967. Dr. King attended Morehouse and had an enduring relationship with Dr. Mays. It was Dr. Mays who was chosen to give the eulogy at the public service five days after Dr. King’s death. He was the only speaker.

In reading about Dr. Mays I have been struck by the short pithy words that he wrote such as “Not failure, but low aim is sin.”

It was Dr. Mays who wrote the words of “God’s minute”.

Dr. King’s short life is filled with events that can be summed up in that short phrase, “But eternity is in it”.

As the short poem was a guidepost for Elijah’s Cummings’ decision making, we too can select a short Bible passage, poem or phrase to guide our decision making during this challenging time of the pandemic.

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