7:37 min of the Knock at Midnight sermon:
“He promised NEVER to leave me alone.”
Each year I try to post on something about his work and mission. I refer you to my previous tribute posts here and here.
These posts include his thoughts, quotes, a famous prayer, and an extended quote on “loving ones enemies”. All quite inspiring, so please enjoy them, as you remember this Christian brother who lived out his core Christian convictions on social justice, and maintained the highest level of ethical devotion.
To fix your mind on what is good, and right is counter-cultural. It’s much easier to get a laugh at someone else’s expense, to find something smug or snide to say, to look for the negative in circumstances or other people, and to grow cynical. But doing that changes us. It spiritually forms us into a malformation. Then our aim, and our work in this world is badly compromised and less effectual. MLK is a model for us to live out such ideals–even to die for them.
Today, co-opt with these thoughts. Thoughts close to this pastor and leader in the American Civil Rights movement–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Ingest them and emulate them. Thank you for reading.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (NLT)
Also-American King James Version
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The following is an excerpt of the last portion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech entitled,
Loving Your Enemies
November 17 1957
…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.
So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.” And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university
of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.
Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.
O God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee for this golden privilege to worship thee, the only true God of the universe. We come to thee today grateful that thou hast kept us through the long night of the past and ushered us into the challenge of the present and the bright hope of the future. We are mindful, O God, that man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of things and humanity is not God.
Bound by our chains of sin and finiteness, we know we need a savior. We thank thee, O God, for the spiritual nature of man. We are in nature but we live above nature. Help us never to let anyone or any condition pull us so low as to cause us to hate. Give us the strength to love our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us and persecute us.
We thank thee for thy Church, founded upon the Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon thee. Then, finally, help us to realize that man was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity.
Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace, help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all of God’s children — Black, White, Red, and Yellow — will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the kingdom of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.
Source: Harold A. Carter’s Prayer Tradition of Black People (1985)
Christian Man of God: Martin Luther King Jr.
MKL in church
On Christ the solid rock he stood
Harmony with other clergy, uniting for godly ideals
“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
I remember the time that MLK day became a national holiday. My mother had just remarried, and I wasn’t too fond of my stepfather, at the time, for various reasons. Namely because it meant my parents could not reunite. Jim got the day off work on this first MLK day, but he was disgruntled.
“Martin Luther King (Jr) doesn’t deserve a holiday, he was just a trouble-maker,” said Jim.
Needless to say, this infuriated me, and I liked my mother’s husband even less. I realized Jim didn’t see Martin Luther King as a non-violent Christian brother-in-Christ who paid the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs, and for standing up for equality, justice, harmony, and God’s love to reign.
Finally, I swallowed my anger, and I said, “Just be thankful that he gave you the day off.”
To that he commented, “Yeah, I guess that’s the good part.” Each year, this conversation would take place, in some form, but thankfully Jim grew less hostile, overall.
One of my favorite things about MLK is that he lived out his worldview which was completely sold out to God, as the center of reality, and God’s ways (love.) To him, this was the answer, the remedy for human weakness, and injustice. It was the way toward redemption, peace, and equality this country was supposedly founded on. His Christian beliefs were thoroughly sincere and ruled his heart, life, and actions. That is inspirational to me, and something to celebrate!
What reflections do you have about MLK, his prayer posted above, or the holiday day we have to celebrate his life?