“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., an extraordinary man who led a movement of change, who dreamed segregated Americans could become a ‘symphony of brotherhood’ working, praying and 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 and great-grandfather), who found the courage to stand up against segregated injustice, violence and hatred.
“…even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…”
In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, Martin Luther King, Jr. kept on going, blazing a path of change through non-violence.
“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 and 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 these turbulent times, that hearts sweltering with injustice, oppression and hate will be transformed into fountains overflowing with freedom, justice and love.
A favorite book, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (edited by Clayborne Carson), combines his 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 inspiring and a valuable resource for fighting injustice wherever it may be found.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is for all Americans and the world, regardless of race or creed. As a pastor, however, 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.
Take a few moments to read his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” written to the clergy. See how relevant his applications are to the challenges of 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.”
All these years later, there’s still too much hate-filled rhetoric filling our airwaves, hallways and heart-waves. As we remember the legacy of this great civil rights activist, assassinated for his beliefs and dreams of equality, let’s ask ourselves, what kind of extremists are we?
How can we become creative extremists for Love? To extend justice to all, equally, through the prism of Love, stamping out the darkness of hate whenever and wherever it lurks in our neighborhoods, communities, cities, countries, and around our globe?
Virginia : )