Who is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?
What is his life and legacy really about? Why is his story impactful? How is it that his message still remains relevant today?
This week we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. He was a Capricorn, just as I am, so I like to think we are very important people! I listened to his famous “I Have A Dream” speech again. I paid close attention to the words in his speech.
Dr. King made reference to an American society that faced a moral battle between freedom and captivity, segregation of the races, and discrimination by Jim Crow and terror tactics. He said we were in a “shameful condition.” All of the people in the United States of America did not have the same unalienable rights that we were so granted under our American constitution. Justice was nowhere in sight. He so vigorously and eloquently stated, “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” Dr. King was full of dignity and discipline when presenting this message to the nation. I was not born during that time, but I could feel the passion in his voice from his recording. It made me feel like I was standing there, watching him deliver his dream of a vision that someday surely will come true.
I was particularly interested in his use of the terms dark and desolate, shameful condition, sunlit path, dignity and discipline. I had been thinking about the following: light versus darkness; of patience and waiting; and doing your work to let the good things flow to you.
Everything in life is kind of related. Art is reflected in nature; nature is reflected in art. The sun has been rising since the beginning of time and its pattern of rising has not changed in all of that time. There will be light in the day and darkness at night. There will be light shining in some areas of the world where it will still be darkness – which is of course dependent upon the location of the area from the international date line and time of day. Nature does not change, but the time is changing- the time for our justice, right?
Sad to announce this, but we are still in a bad state of condition. I wouldn’t say it is worse; just amplified. It is amplified because more people are bold. On the other hand, there has been more awareness of the problem we have in America in terms of racism, power, and destruction, which is making it feel worse all at once, all over the world. The world is shaken up, and people want to take action by acknowledging or denying our history. But, I would like to make some parallels between Dr. King’s speech and some things I read in the bible. The verses are from: Genesis 1 (The Beginning), Colossians 1 (Thanksgiving and Prayer), and Romans 8 (Present Suffering and Future Glory). The chapters are good to read but if you have a moment, look at these verses from those chapters: Genesis chapter 1, verses 1 to 5; Colossians chapter 1, verses 1 to 14; and Romans chapter 8, verses 18 to 28. Below are some verses I seek to parallel with Dr. King’s speech and current condition of the world:
Genesis 1: 4 NIV- “(4) God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”
*You can see the difference between light and dark in the world. God separated them from each other. We can physically see light and dark. (I also believe we can see the difference between good and evil powers in the world, but please read the verse for your own comprehension.)
Colossians 1: 11-14 NIV- “(11) being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, (12) and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (13) For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Romans 8: 28 NIV- “(28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I’d like to conclude with this: Everything has been written in the Bible to help guide us in this fallen world, which is away from God. The Bible is a resource. It’s time to pick up the Bible and read. It is time to take advantage of it. Get the right answers. Seek everlasting truths and justice- not man made truths and fake history/facts. Finally, actively test the answers you find and ultimately get better at recognizing your own dignity, discipline, and calling.
Also, I see people are speaking out more. If you are going to be a part of a movement, would you consider doing it like Dr. King? Build your resistance on a policy of love, as Jesus loves us; as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. emulated. He was the focal point of a movement- the Civil Rights Movement- that approached justice and equality through non-violent protests, peace and love.
Take a note from him and his inspirational quote:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -Dr. MLK, Jr.
If you are going to have a conversation, a movement, or a call to action, let’s work on being loving and full of light. Our example is in Jesus Christ. He was sacrificed on a cross for us, but his words remain to this day and they are relevant. Remember, also, the good actions of Dr. King. He was assassinated, but his example and words still ring true today.