Today is Martin Luther King day. In all honesty, I've never really given a whole lot of thought to this day and what it means, but today it seems all the more important, given the events that will take place tomorrow.
I have known for a couple of days that I wanted to do a blog post about MLK. I just don't know which direction to take it. There are so many aspects of this man which are worth noting in our modern context, so many lessons that can be learned. I feel like my little blog is incapable of handling the vast weight of such an enormous historical figure. I feel like my fingers on the keyboard are incapable of getting the record straight.
I think we have to start with the idea that Dr. King saw an injustice, and was compelled to speak out against it in the name of Christ. He was after all a Christian pastor (which by the way, if more people spoke the way he did, our churches would be radically different). For him, this wasn't about power or recognition, doing the right thing so other people would notice. I even saw on a documentary today that he was rather embarrased by the fact that he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He didn't want anyone to mention it at his funeral.
Secondly, few people in the world have taken Jesus' message of non-violence to heart quite the way King did. As I watched film footage today of the marches in Alabama, I was struck by how little the protesters were actually doing. They were simply walking, and to the police officers of the day that was enough to beat some of them severly. But King and his followers never used violence back. They would not bring down their cause to that level. Instead, they just protested the wrong that was being done to them. As I watched today, I couldn't help but think of Jesus in a garden, repairing a Roman soldier's ear. He could have fought back, but that just wasn't going to glorify him or his cause very much.
I know some people would point out that King wasn't perfect. I know that he had affairs, and by no means is that acceptable. But I think when you start pointing out other people's imperfections in the face of their great Kingdom accomplishments, you're missing the point. If people who have sinned cannot advance the Kingdom into this world, what hope do we have?

This is not about hero worship. This is not about idolizing a man. For me, this is about looking at someone who was intent on living the life Christ called him to in every aspect of his world. He was right, and he knew he was right all along, but he never seemed arrogant about it. He never insisted on his own way. He simply lived a life according to what Christ was speaking into his heart. Nearly 40 years after his death, as the first African-American President is going to be sworn in tomorrow, I wonder what he would think about all this? I wonder what he would say about very tiny steps being taken in the name of love?


Zombie said...

Not an easy person to write about, good blog.