On Monday, the country will celebrate the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For those that lived through the Civil Rights era, Dr. King’s words and actions are all too familiar. As a child, I was instructed to memorize the “I Have a Dream” speech, I learned about the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the peaceful protests in the city of my birth that were met with firehoses and attack dogs.
For many, we look back at the struggle for equality as something of the past, believing these issues were resolved with Constitutional legislation. However, if 2020 has brought any good into our world it has shown just how far we have to go in the struggle for equality.
Those words are easy to type as a person born into privilege. When it comes to economic, gender, nationality, ethnicity, and systematic privilege, life has been handed to me on a silver platter. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t faced difficult circumstances, hardship, disappointment, or rejection. However, I have been given more than my fair share of a leg up as a result of being born male into a white middle-class American family.
If life were a baseball game, I got to start with 5 RBI’s, bases loaded, no outs, and the league-leading designated hitter stepping up to the plate.
Stop and consider if you are a person of privilege. What opportunities have you been afforded that others have not? Has privilege blinded us from the societal disadvantage we propagate, sometimes without even knowing it?
The hard reality is that while many of us experience privilege, so many of our neighbors do not. Our way of seeing the world isn’t always right, because it fails to see, listen, and understand the suffering that others experience.
As Dr. King put it, “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
For many, MLK Day is just another holiday, a day off from work. However, I invite us as a congregation to let this be a day of listening and learning. We invite you to join us in honoring Dr. King by expanding our love of neighbor. By seeing the world through our neighbors’ eyes, we can love more fully and authentically.
Below are links to a number of videos that give a deeper perspective into how far we have to go in the struggle of equality:
· Let's get to the root of racial injustice | Megan Ming Francis | TEDxRainier: https://youtu.be/-aCn72iXO9s
· Pearson segment: A conversation between generations: https://youtu.be/62P5BNYSSs8
· Emmanuel Acho: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: https://youtu.be/h8jUA7JBkF4
· TED Student Talks: https://youtu.be/jgQYfAo6umg
· Racial Equality: Being an Ally Starts with Your Intention: https://youtu.be/euL0Ny0aevI
May we continue to be transformed and reformed by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God the Father.