Dr. Martin Luther King’s words and legacy
Rev. Rob Wright, the newly elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, publishes a devotional each week called “For Faith.” Each Friday morning, I am glued to my inbox, waiting to receive and absorb his words, which I always find to be provocative and humble, profound and gentle.
This past Friday, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, he posted a excerpt from Dr. King’s last Sunday sermon that was preached in The Washington National Cathedral. Reading this post has made me thirst to “get to know” Dr. King better — to listen to his speeches, read his sermons, and revisit his life’s story. Not only was he a champion of civil rights, but also he was a powerful preacher and leader of the Christian faith, a believer in God’s profound grace, and a prophet of hope and justice.
From some angles, I feel that our society has come a long way since Dr. King’s time, but I am uncertain as to how he would feel about our modern culture whose values seem centered more on self than on others and whose plastic, shiny idols champion faith in our Creator.
I pray that we would remember and resurrect Dr. King’s words and teachings in these yet again troubled times, as he reminds us of equality for all people, unified under God who gives us life and purpose and who is ever with us as we march on through the trenches and mountaintops of life. He reminds us, friends, of the Greatest Love who brings hope of a brighter tomorrow.
A segment from Dr. King’s last Sunday Sermon:
“…You must come to see, American Christians, that it is possible to be self-centered in your self-sacrifice and self-righteous in your self-denial. You may be generous in order to feed your ego, benevolent to feed your pride. So without love, benevolence becomes egotism and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride. Love is the greatest of all virtues. This is the meaning of the Cross, not a meaningless drama on the stage of history, but it is a telescope through which we look out on the long distance of eternity and see the love of God breaking through time. It is an eternal reminder of the power of love over hate. I must say goodbye to you now. Hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. It’s possible that I will not get to see you in America but I will meet you in God’s eternity. And now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling; and now unto Him who is able to transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. This is the letter and now comes the living of it. God bless you.”
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.