Picture from The Everything Martin Luther King Jr. Book by Jessica Mc Elrath
What Dream Do You Hold
In Your Heart?
This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D. C. His words continue to resonate throughout the land. I spent a part of my childhood in the segregated South and saw first-hand the heart wrenching result of the daily denigration of human beings based solely on the color of their skin. One incident that I remember vividly included my mom and me taking a new baby gift to the home of a family of color. My mom, the young wife of an Army Officer, was the only one who stood up to bring a fellow Officer’s wife and her family a gift to honor the birth of their child. When we arrived the woman did not initially invite us in as that would not be acceptable at that time. My mom asked if we could come in and this woman welcomed us to a wonderful afternoon with her and her children. I am thankful for the example my mother was in a racially intense time to teach me that the color of one’s skin is of no issue. I was deeply affected by what I witnessed in those early years and I followed Dr. King as he promulgated equality for all and profoundly shaped the Civil Rights movement in our country.
Strong Christian Family Roots
Dr. King came from a solid Christian home. His grandfather was a pastor. As a young man dr. King joined his father as co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. Dr. King was a man of God first. He said, “In the quiet recesses of my heart, I am fundamentally a clergyman, a Baptist preacher.” His nonviolence stance had at its foundation the Word of God and the fullness of agape love. The strong faith based life of Dr. King cannot be put aside to push today’s political agendas as the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream. Faith is the cornerstone of his life and the profound effect he had on this country. He was a Christian first who well knew the importance of a clean heart (it is always a heart issue) before the Lord. He said, “Throughout this struggle for racial justice I have constantly asked God to remove all bitterness from my heart and to give me the strength and courage to face any disaster that came my way.”
“Jobs and Freedom”
We hear much today about the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream. The years seem to have blurred the true depth of his dream. He did not promulgate an entitlement society of government supported able bodied people who would be given free phones, free health care and welfare. Let me be clear, I am not against welfare for those truly in need but to morph the welfare concept into something that should be doled out to anyone who is breathing (and to many who are long deceased) does nothing to grow our Nation. Further, it does nothing to grow generations of responsible, contributing citizens. There were times in my life I would have qualified for welfare but I chose to work three jobs to keep a roof over my head and food on my table. I chose instead to be responsible for myself so that someone truly in need for a season could have the opportunity to receive assistance to get through to the other side of their circumstance. Dr. King stood for equality in employment and opportunity across racial lines. The D.C. Headquarters for the March on Washington had a banner which said, “For Jobs and Freedom.” That was his dream and it is a far cry from the rhetoric we hear today.
A Noble People
Dr. King was a humble man. He was the youngest person to receive the Noble Peace Prize. He said, “But then I realized that this was no mere recognition of the contribution of one man on the state of history. It was a testimony to the magnificent drama of the Civil Rights movement and the thousands of actors who had played their roles extremely well. In truth, it is these ‘noble’ people who had won this Nobel Prize.”
“Free At Last!”
I believe Dr. King spoke for all the downtrodden in our country. His dream speech shows his heart for the elimination of all division whether it be racial or religious. He said, “I have a dream that that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…and when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!””
This week take some time to read Dr. King’s speech, or better yet, listen to it on the internet. It is one of the most powerful speeches in our history. Let it penetrate your heart for unity. As we eliminate division in each of our individual hearts we will be able to come together in unity for this season in our history. May we in this United States of America be “free at last” from strongholds of bitterness, resentment and division that keep us from advancing the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Quotes to Ponder This Week
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Jesus, Matthew 12:25
“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.” Robert F. Kennedy
“The dream of Martin Luther King (was) to elevate the dignity of each person, the worth of each person, the freedom of each person to realize his or her dreams.” President George W. Bush
“Remember, race was by no means his only concern. In his view, poor white people were as important to America’s future as poor black people.” Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Civil Rights and feminist leader and Former Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
“It is my great hope that the dark clouds of war will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched world, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of peace and brotherhood will shine over our great nation and the world.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose…What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Prayer Request
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep all who serve our country, our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our front-line on the battlefield, let us be their front-line in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives.
God bless all our diplomatic and military personnel and their families. May the Lord keep them safe. Pray for all throughout the world for hedges of protection against radical Muslim extremists and all forms of terrorism. We have long prayed for spiritual victory over radical Islam in Esther’s Warriors Ministry. We now see the reality of this threat come to the forefront in this time in world history.
Please pray for all in authority over us, for the full truth to come forth concerning Benghazi and for safety in Israel. May God richly bless the United States of America, bring to light every single crooked place and keep her safe. May we may arise united once again as One Nation Under God in this auspicious season in our country’s history.
The lives lost in Benghazi, the continuing targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice targeting journalists phone records, the National Security Agency overstepping its legal authority are hardly “phony scandals.” We continue to pray for truth to prevail in each of these situations. Pray for the families who have lost loved ones, for those relentlessly targeted and for all of us who call ourselves American. These are treacherous times and now more than ever we must maintain our walk with the Lord, saturate this country in prayer and stand for all that is right in America. Fail not in this hour.
Please Join Me In Prayer
Father we thank You for Your Word. We thank You for the life and dream of Dr. King for unity among Your people. Empower us to walk out Your will “for such a time as this.” Break every stronghold that would keep us divided and raise us up to bring Your Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven in this season. We pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and amen.