While attending the Naval Academy, some of my most memorable moments were celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. The U.S. Naval Academy Gospel Choir traveled to Atlanta, GA every year to sing at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (where both, Dr. King and his father “Daddy King” pastured). Visiting the King Center was always a special time of reflection for me.
I took time to watch the videos, read the words, cry, pray, and thank God for his deliverance. Every year, I also took special care when deciding what memorabilia to bring home. In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to share a few of Dr. Kings’ words from the book:
The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. selected by Coretta Scott King.
The Community of Man
I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up (pg 25).
To that I say: I want to be a person who builds others up and join with those who share this belief.
There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance (pg 30).
To that I say: God calls us to value our differences. There is so much that we can learn from each other, for God desires for us to live in fellowship, community, unity, and love.
Justice and Freedom
Our hope for creative living in this world house that we have inherited lies in our ability to reestablish the moral ends of our lives in personal character and social justice. Without this spiritual and moral reawakening we shall destroy ourselves in the misuse of our own instruments (pg 58).
To that I say: Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and life will literally have no meaning. The good news is that Jesus has come to redeem our lives. He has come to transform us into his likeness; this righteousness is the true meaning of justice. The gospel of Jesus and social justice are inseparable. The love of God, our love for others, and God’s creation are inseparable. To say that we care for one and not the other reveals that our love is incomplete.
Faith and Religion
There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods rather than God. We have genuflected before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate. We have worshipped the god of pleasure only to discover that thrills play out and sensations are short-lived. We have bowed before the god of money only to learn that there are such things as love and friendship that money cannot buy and that in a world of possible depressions, stock market crashes, and bad business investments, money is a rather uncertain deity. These transitory gods are not able to save or bring happiness to the human heart. Only God is able. It is faith in Him that we must rediscover (63).
To that I say: See “Counterfeit Gods” post below. False gods cannot save us from ourselves. “Salvation is found in no one else [but Jesus Christ of Nazareth], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).”
True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice (pg 83).
To that I say: Amen!
The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation is unveiling the “Build the Dream” memorial in August 2011. To find out more about the project or make a donation, go here: http://www.mlkmemorial.org/
Will you honor Black History Month by making a small contribution to make this dream a reality?
© Natasha L. Robinson 2011
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