Monday, January 18, 2010

Son of a Preacher Man

Today we must remember one of the greatest figures in America, Martin Luther King, Jr. Our America, our world, would not be the same had he not walked it. There were other great figures who fought segregation, and I believe that they could have gotten the job done - Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks in her heroic act, W. E. B. Du Bois, but is seems that none of them had the charisma, the words, the voice that Dr. King had.

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I've always been fascinated by Martin Luther King, Jr, minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, PhD in systematic theology from Boston University, son of Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. His sermons were Powerful. He preached forgiveness, love, grace. His words are just as relevant today as they were when he first said them. Here is an excerpt from "Loving Your Enemies":

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Because of the power and influence of the personality of this Christ, he was able to split history into a.d. and b.c. Because of his power, he was able to shake the hinges from the gates of the Roman Empire. And all around the world this morning, we can hear the glad echo of heaven ring:

Jesus shall reign wherever sun,
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spreads from shore to shore,
Till moon shall wane and wax no more.

We can hear another chorus singing: "All hail the power of Jesus name!"
We can hear another chorus singing: "Hallelujah, hallelujah! He’s King of Kings and Lord of
Lords. Hallelujah, hallelujah!"
We can hear another choir singing:

In Christ there is no East or West.
In Him no North or South,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide world.

This is the only way.

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And our civilization must discover that. Individuals must discover that as they deal with other individuals. There is a little tree planted on a little hill and on that tree hangs the most influential character that ever came in this world. But never feel that that tree is a meaningless drama that took place on the stages of history. Oh no, it is a telescope through which we look out into the long vista of eternity, and see the love of God breaking forth into time. It is an eternal reminder to a power-drunk generation that love is the only way. It is an eternal reminder to a generation depending on nuclear and atomic energy, a generation depending on physical violence, that love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.

(Loving Your Enemies, November 17 1957)

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Dr. King had a thousand reasons to stop his ministry. He was shot at multiple times. He was beaten, jailed, spit upon. People who were ignorant of his message shouted obscenities, cruel, cruel words at a man who's heart they didn't understand and who's skin color they didn't approve of . He had a beautiful family that loved him fervently. Yet he didn't stop. He lived his life modeling Jesus Christ. He believed so passionately in his mission as a pastor and a peace maker that when death seemed imminent, he went on. We all know what happened. He became a modern martyr for a cause that could no longer be ignored. Yet Dr. King continues to live on, through his legacy and his words. Let us all remember with reverence Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2 comments:

goldenbird said...

That was a beautiful post. Thank you for honoring the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. Have you ever seen the PBS program, Eyes on the Prize, about the civil rights movement? It's fantastic.

Erin Wallace said...

I have seen Eyes On The Prize. It's really incredible, not just as a documentary, but that we allowed such prejudice and ignorance to persist for so long in America. And incredible what those in the movement had to go through. How could I let Martin Luther King, Jr. Day go by without honoring this great man?

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