Today we celebrate the life of an extraordinary man who led a movement of change –who dreamed Americans would become a ‘symphony of brotherhood’ working, praying & struggling together in peaceful equality. We commemorate his efforts and the thousands who rose up with him against injustice to let Freedom ring in this country.
What a life. What a legacy from this man of faith – a preacher from a long line of preachers (his father, grandfather, great-grandfather) – who with his legacy of faith found the courage to stand up against segregated injustice & violent hatred …
… in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, he kept on keeping on …
‘even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…’
…blazing a path of non-violence & change …
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred…We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again & again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
Pray God that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dreams will continue in this new millennium, that hearts sweltering with the heat of injustice, oppression and hate will be transformed into fountains overflowing with freedom, justice and love.
One of my favorite books, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (edited by Clayborne Carson), combines letters, writings, and speeches into a comprehensive portrait of his life. I highly recommend this book for a deeper look into his life that is TRULY inspiring & a valuable resource for anyone interested in Faith, Advocacy, & fighting injustice anywhere.
Although Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is for all Americans (& the world) regardless of race or creed, as a Pastor he often challenged the Christian Establishment’s status quo. To look the other way or not get involved was not his way – or the way of Jesus Christ.
Read his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” written to the clergy… and see the relevant applications to be made today:
“Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ …
Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? …
Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”
I have friends across the political & faith-based spectrums & geez louise, there’s lots of hate-filled rhetoric going around. If you profess belief in God and in Jesus Christ:
WHAT KIND OF EXTREMIST ARE YOU?
One Tuesday a few Novembers ago, I assigned this Letter as a case study for an Advocacy course at an international Christian University in Hawaii (kinda tough, teaching a course next to sunny beaches & all that : ) – not realizing the next day our country would make history by electing Barack Obama as our President.
That day I was very proud to be an American(!) & grateful to God for the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. – his courageous love in the face of hate, inspired dreams of justice & peace & his tireless efforts to make those dreams reality: mountains of fears & prejudice laid low, valleys of tears & suffering exalted in joy…
As we build a new future today with stones of Hope, may his dreams live on in us!
grace, peace & Creative Extremists (of LOVE!)
Virginia : )
p.s. my friend Gwen wrote an incredibly awesome blog last week on MLK, Jr. – here’s a link to check it out! http://play-grand.com/how-long-is-not-long/