Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Service

This week PESTed celebrated the life and work of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. by honoring our volunteers. At a volunteer appreciation party on Monday at DesignBox, we got a chance to say "thank you" to some of the wonderful people who give of themselves to make the movement for pesticide reform and a toxic-free North Carolina possible.

The King holiday was set aside by Congress as a national day of service in 1994, in order to encourage Americans to carry out one of Dr. King's great themes: that of service to others. We thank our volunteers in this same spirit, that of recognizing that greatness comes not from one's achievements and one's status in society, but from the greatness of our humility and our devotion to humankind. Dr. King gave his famous sermon on service, "The Drum Major Instinct," at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in 1968. Here is a portion of that sermon, which I know you will recognize:

And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Amen) That's a new definition of greatness.

And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, (Everybody) because everybody can serve. (Amen) You don't have to have a college degree to serve. (All right) You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. (Amen) You only need a heart full of grace, (Yes, sir, Amen) a soul generated by love. (Yes) And you can be that servant.

Take a minute to read the whole sermon (and even listen to moving audio excerpts) at the website of the Stanford MLK Papers Project.

Like our wonderful volunteers, I hope that you will be moved to serve others every day, long after the National Day of Service is over.

P.S. Thanks also to those who sponsored our volunteer appreciation party and helped us say "thank you" to some of those who serve: DesignBox, Neu Romance Entertainment, The Carolina Brewing Company, and Susan Barringer Wells. Here are some pictures from the party for your enjoyment!

MLK Day Volunteer Appreciation Party

1 comment:

One of the many PestED volunteers said...

It was a great party. Thanks so much for the celebration, perfect for MLK Day!