Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Day 2012

Today we remember the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his legacy of working toward justice in America and in the world. It's pretty amazing to think about the fact that less than a century ago, the civil rights movement was in full sway. Less than a century ago, schools were segregated, restaurants were segregated, and even bathrooms and water fountains were segregated. Our nation has come a long way since Dr. King's death but there is still much work left to do in the realm of justice.

This weekend, I pulled a book off the shelf called "A Testament of Hope." It is a collection of the writings and speeches of the late Dr. King. I read a sermon, which was Dr. King's last Sunday sermon and it was given at the beautiful National Cathedral in Washington DC on Passion Sunday 1968, just a few years before I was born, almost to the day.

As I read the sermon, all I could think was that it could have been given yesterday just as easily as it could have been given 34 years ago. The words ring as true today as they did in 1968. Here's a small section.

"First, we are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution."

And another.

"Something positive must be done, everyone must share in the guilt as individuals and as institutions."

And yet another.

"There is another thing closely related to racism that I would like to mention as another challenge. We are challenged to rid our nation and our world of poverty. Like a monstrous octopus, poverty spreads its nagging, prehensile tentacles into villages and hamlets all over our world."

Dr. King, in this sermon centered the message around these words of Jesus, "Behold I make all things new--former things are passed away."

And as a closing remark, may the closing words of Dr. King's sermon be our prayer today, and every day, until Jesus returns.

"God grant that we will be participants in this newness and this magnificent development. If we will but do it, we will bring about a new day of justice and brotherhood and peace. And that day the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy. God bless you."

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