Are we an example of the world?

By DAVID STEVENSON GUEST COLUMNIST,

In the spring of 1630 John Winthrop was the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and a prominent figure among the Puritan founders of New England.

John Winthrop and his family were on the ship called Arabella with other Puritans sailing for the New World. While on the ship John Winthrop preached a sermon called A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY and he quoted “for we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and, so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.” 

John Winthrop and other Puritans believed that they were divinely ordained to build in New England Massachusetts a city built upon a hill as an example of the world.

Have you ever wondered what people in the United States think of Indianola, Mississippi besides my favorite blues singer B.B. King? 

What do people say about Indianola? For example, when people around the United States think of Chicago, they think of Oprah Winfrey, Harold’s fried chicken and the Bulls.

When people in the United States think of Memphis, they think of the Grizzlies and Beale Street. In the Big Easy (New Orleans) we think of great food and great music by Louis Armstrong, Dr. John Allen Toussaint, and Fats Domino. In Atlanta, Georgia (aka Hotlanta), a southern city where dreams become reality television, in the 1970s its nickname was the Black Mecca.

When we as natives were transported to the city of Indianola, we were not as quick to celebrate what makes us unique and rise above the issues that plague every major city in America. 

Admittedly, I hate that we see ourselves as grasshoppers and not the giants we are. George Bernard Shaw said other people see things and say why? But I dream of things that were and I say why not. And I know as a citizen of this great city of Indianola, it has a dark past, but we the citizens of Indianola do not have to fall victim to our past or be crippled by our past.

Remember we are called to build a new future for ourselves and our children. 

Pericles said to the Athenians, “We do not imitate for we are a model to others.”  When people say Indianola, they should say B.B. King and other things, but Indianola should not just focus on the past and present, but also the future. 

When we focus only on our past and present, we miss the future.

Indianola should be first.

When I say first, I am not talking about first when or first if, I mean first period.

Indianola should be a city built on a rock and not sand for Jesus said in Matthew 7: 24, “Therefore, whosoever, heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.”

Not just a city built on a rock but a shining city on a rock.

We must come together not for the best just for blacks, whites, and others, but what is best for Indianola. William Bradford quoted “All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.”

And when we come to ourselves then we can be a city, with one aim, and one destiny. And like John Winthrop said to the Puritans on the Arabella sailing to the New World, “I say to us that all eyes are upon us.”

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