Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Words of Three Kings: Jesus, MLK, and Elvis

So many times, we think about the will of God and what it means for us as individuals. What does God want me to do? What is His will for my life? Some of us wait for a peaceful, easy feeling, and some of us wait for a phone call from the man Himself.  Sometimes I think I act like the character played by Bridget Fonda in the movie "Singles" as she's desperately waiting for a sign letting her know if she should call her boyfriend.  She's throwing balls of paper in the trash can, and the determining factor is whether or not she hits the basket.  I think I'm like that when I just want to be absolutely positive I'm doing the right thing...but I didn't make the layup...so...I'll make my move when I'm answered according to my guidelines and, of course, if it goes my way.

These words were spoken by Martin Luther King in Memphis, TN the night before he was assassinated.

"I just want to do God's will.  And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land!  I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.  And I'm happy tonight.  I'm not worried about anything.  I'm not fearing any man.  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

I live in Memphis, TN so driving by the Lorraine Hotel is always haunting because we see the balcony where his blood was shed.  Yes, Martin Luther King was a Christian man who desired to do the will of God.  What humbles me when I read about his life,  is that his main interest was not just doing God's will, but in the will of God itself.  His desire extended well beyond himself as an individual or a single race.  It was for all humanity, because it is the will of God.  King's dream was not racial or political, it was spiritual. He was a man who loved his Bible and understood its story. His hope was not in an ideology but a promise.  Martin Luther King stood with King Jesus in the surety that wounds would be healed and broken lives restored.  He knew man's brokenness.  He knew our hearts are more prone to be motivated toward our own selfish gain.  His hope was not in man but for man.  Regardless of where we stand politically, without a standard of measurement outside of ourselves, how can we honestly admit that our standard is not prejudiced?   In Engaging God's World, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. explains, "Martin Luther King appealed to the righteousness of God because he understood it as a transcendent standard of right and wrong."  The righteousness of God is much bigger than the prejudice of man and calls us to "do justice." We're not to hide our beliefs and pull them out of a hat only when it suits our advantage or agenda, right?  King quoted from Amos and declared it high time for "justice to roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." He fought for truth in love, not by the sword.  Although he called for political change, his agenda was not to hijack the political process.  He didn't demand that everyone have the same religious convictions as he, for he didn't fear those who believed differently.  He didn't wait for a sign. He didn't expect a phone call, for people to agree with and be nice to him, and he sure as hell didn't wait for a peaceful, easy feeling.

No, Martin Luther King's story did not end on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel.  His legacy will live. Scripture says to be a "doer of the word." So, in the words of Elvis, "A little less conversation and a lot more action" is needed.  The baton has been passed down to us, to pursue justice and mercy.  We're to continue to run the good race.  We still live in a world where all people are not treated with dignity, respect, and equality.  Silence is acceptance of discrimination.  But there is hope because where there is humility, there is repentance and forgiveness.

I hope that I can honor him by believing in that dream, and striving toward the righteousness of God to see that dream in actuality.  It is promised that there will be a family, a heavenly culture, who dwells in the Promised Land where the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and all will be free and find rest.  I hope that I extend my interests beyond my little world.  I hope I struggle with questioning my beliefs and asking myself how they play out in my life.  I hope that I will fear less and do more, and quit waiting to make that layup!

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, Leigh!! Such great things to think about!

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