Monday, January 18, 2016

King (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr) and I

I never met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Never marched with him or heard him speak in person.  We both graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary.  King graduated in 1951.  I graduated nineteen years later.  King and I both heard the lectures of Dr. Kenneth L. Smith, Crozer Professor of Christian Ethics, who urged his students to work for social change.  I met King's wife, Coretta, and spoke with her briefly, at the Philadelphia airport years ago, and I once talked with his daughter Bernice on the telephone.  I've listened to his recorded speeches and I've read most of his writings.  Not much of a connection to warrant the title, "King and I."

Alive and burning in us then and now was the Dream
--the hope that we could and would become
builders of communities of caring.
Yet there is a deeper connection.  That connection has to do with our common commitment to the Christian faith.  King and I are soul-mates at the point of our commitment.  King and I, and that great cloud of witnesses, who have gone before us, and who are yet to come, affirm that we are called to "overthrow the existing order!"  We proclaim that the world as we know it is broken.  A little mending here and there will not do the trick.  A new world is in the making.  Even now we experience "the birth pangs of [that] new creation."  It is not just a change within an individual life (though it must begin there) but it is a new order that overcomes the existing inequalities of our society--both here at home and abroad.  There are so many!  King and I share a dream.  It is a dream that sees beyond today and looks to the future from a mountaintop.  From that vantage point we can see a day coming when everyone will have equal pay for equal work, when all shall be accepted (regardless of race, creed, or gender) and given an opportunity to be all that they are meant to be.  There are times when, standing on that mountaintop,  my eyes fog up and I have difficulty seeing.  Can this dream really be?  Yes, it can be and it will be.  It is happening now, and will be happening tomorrow.  Will we do our part in "overthrowing the existing order" and bring this dream to reality?

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