Today is the day we’ve set aside to celebrate the life, and death, of one of the great leaders of our time…Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On August 28, 1963, Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and gave one of the greatest speeches of all time. Today I took a moment and read that speech and I was filled with awe of a man who dared to speak the truth that
all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’
Since that day in 1963, we have witnessed moments that I’m sure have made some people want to retreat in the fight for progress. A gloom descended over our country as the leader in this fight for racial justice and equality was brutally slain by one who did not want to see change come to this great land. And yet, because of that senseless act of brutality, one man’s life has been immortalized and has helped create that change that murderous forces hoped to stop!
As we celebrate the life of Dr. King, I am reminded of the times we live in today. We are a country that is becoming more and more polarized politically and socially. We have come to a place where it is acceptable to call those who we disagree with unconscionable names. We scoff at them and deride them for positions that don’t square with our own. We do this at our own peril I believe because once we’ve started down the path of treating those who disagree with us as sub-standard, then it becomes easier and easier to marginalize them and once we’ve marginalized them, it doesn’t take much to reach a point where we can treat them just like slaves were once treated in our country.
This morning I read the “love chapter” in the Scriptures. I Corinthians 13 is often quoted at weddings and many have taken it to describe what true “romance” is. But I believe it encompasses much more than romance. It is truly the very essense of how all of us should live. The author writes about what true love is and what it is not. The author then gets really blunt and says that if we don’t have this kind of love, we are completely useless. It seems to me that this is the message that we should be preaching today and it is the message that I can hear incorporated in Dr. King’s speech of yester-year.
Instead of building walls that divide, we should be pointing, with love, to the things that make us one. We are, all of us, creations of God and it’s time we started treating each other that way. It doesn’t matter our race, political affiliation, status in life, sexual orientation or any of the other things that we use in life to build divides, we should treat people with love.
I too have a dream! My dream is that we can learn to love people with the kind of love that…
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.
It’s time to start looking at people with eyes of love instead of jaundiced eyes that say “since we don’t agree you are an embarrassment and deserve the stiff arm and middle finger.” Unfortunately, that is the way too many Christians have begun to act. We’ve taken on the mentality of the world that says “give me what is mine and respect me darn it!” We see no problems in creating enemies and starting wars. We have, in my opinion, relegated I Corinthians to the wedding chapel and banished it from our every day life.
Dr. King said…
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
As I read the words of Dr. King, I am challenged to live in love, true love, because as songwriter said…
love is the more excellent way!