My husband, Benny, shared these thoughts yesterday or our church’s blog (www.lakenonachurch.com). I wanted to share them with you as well. My mother taught me by her words and her example to love and respect Dr. King — it’s hard to believe the speech that rocked the world and my young heart happened fifty years ago!
I’m grateful to God for the racial changes that have happened in our country over the past fifty years. But I yearn for more to come.
I miss Dr. King and his passion for change buried in the gospel.
It was 50 years ago yesterday that, arguably, one of the greatest speeches in American history was given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. As I contemplate that historic day, three things come to mind. I agree with Dr. King that “…I refuse to believe the bank of justice is bankrupt.” As long as our Sovereign Lord remains Sovereign, justice will reign. It may not come as quickly or in a manner that we would prefer, but the promise of Scripture is “And I will make justice the line and righteousness the plumb line…” (Isaiah 28:17)
Second, in the current culture of the “civil rights industry” some of Dr. King’s perspective is lost. “…(as we) gain our rightful place, let us not be guilty of wrongful deeds, we dare not drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred…(we must) meet physical force with soul force.” As long as our preferences remain unexamined and our prejudices unaddressed it is difficult not to drink from that cup.
Third, the local church has the opportunity and the mandate to make a difference. Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:11-22 are timeless. P.T. O’Brien observes of this passage “This paragraph provides one of the most wonderful descriptions of peace and reconciliation…where believers ‘come near’ to God and to one another through the saving death of the Lord Jesus Christ”. As a local church, I want us to demonstrate this gospel-centered perspective of reconciliation in our personal lives and in our corporate expression.