Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being a person in my mid-forties I don’t remember that day, but I am well aware of the who he is and what he did. Bold vision and active pursuit of transformation is hard to hide.
Dr. King spoke to the vision of God’s Kingdom – dreamed of a time when all people saw into the hearts and soul of others and not just at their skin color (or, I would add, their fashion choices). He worked tirelessly not to simply proclaim the plight of “his people” but to fight against the great divisions between ALL people. His vision for the world was driven by what he understood as God’s vision for the world.
Pondering the work Dr. King did and his dedication and willingness to put himself on the line to bring about a more God-envisioned world made me think about the current state of the Christian community (at least here in the U.S.). Are we engaged with Jesus and living into the power of the Holy Spirit? Are we being broken open in a way that allows God to use us to usher in a new reality – one inaugurated by the death and resurrection of Jesus?
Here’s 3 things I would say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life remind us about living as Kingdom people:
It is simpler to live within the church walls and every so often venture out into the place where the forces of evil are hard at work tearing apart families and devastating lives. We do good things and touch lives but we also have a tendency to duck back into a place of safety very quickly. We’re not afraid to be labeled a Christian, but we’re nervous about letting go of what makes us feel secure – our nice home, our like-minded friends, our middle class routines of soccer games and sporting events. We’re safe, but we’re not really living.
Speak out for truth
Dr. King was willing to proclaim what Jesus called for – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor .” (Luke 4:18-19) If we’re not speaking up and speaking out to see these things become a reality can we call ourselves followers of Jesus? And are we not missing out on the joy of seeing others set free to live new lives? Life in the Spirit is a life given to proclaiming “good news” – speaking out against those who would deny others real life.
It is amazing how 43 years after his death Dr. King continues to inspire people of all races, shapes, and sizes. We listen to his words and reflect on his life and, as I am doing in this blog, we wonder, “could my life make that kind of impact?” The reality is that Dr. King did not set out to inspire others but instead wanted to live in partnership with God ushering in a new day of peace and unity. When we set out to inspire others I think we easily fall short. When we seek to live boldly and speak truthfully others see in us something to be admired and even emulated. So the task is not so much to live with a goal to inspire, the task is to live your life so it can be seen by others. Let your life and your work be visible – not so others can give praise to you, but so others may see the way life in Christ changes the world.
Those are some of my thoughts today.
How has the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired you?
Better yet, are you living your life in a way that God might use it to inspire others?
Most of all, are we, the followers of Jesus, inspired by the Spirit of God to work together boldly and outwardly to usher in a more God-envisioned world?
Holy high-five to you,