Yesterday Rev. C.T. Vivian died, and at the age of 95 he joined a community beyond. I have thought about his life, his record, and the public ways in which he lived. I didn’t know him and have never met him, but I’ve always been drawn to ministry leaders whose lives have been full and long.
In a day when theological visionaries and ethical leaders can be hard to find, it is even harder to support those folks throughout lives that contain many days. Our godly leaders end early, die young.
I think of a remark that Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes made about the how powerful and politically corrective it is to live a long life. When I contemplate the life of Rev. Vivian and when I recall the pictures of people like my other preaching hero, Rev. Gardner C. Taylor, I’m drawn to lengthy trails of service and the even longer lists of persons who have also made those ministries and lives possible.
The private and the popular are on those lists. So many people make a long life of ministry doable.
May we remember Rev. Vivian and all the people whose names are alongside his in the cause of justice and better world-making.