Back in 1967, I was a frightened 10 year old. It wasn't that I lacked confidence in myself that led to my anxiety, rather it was the National Guard tank that tore up the asphalt on my street that scared me. You see, we were in the midst of a race riot and the National Guard was being deployed along with a 6:00 p.m. curfew. Buildings in the Akron/Canton/Cleveland area were being set ablaze and when the first responders arrived, they were being shot by snipers. As a 10 year old, I didn't understand the hatred and violence that was shattering my sense of security.
One man who helped me regain my lost sense of security was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. On television, I had watched him speak with a calm confidence that both soothed my soul and fed a nascent faith that was searching for heroes. Each time I heard him speak, I felt a deep sense of AMEN arise in my soul.
I heard other messages from what seemed like hate mongers to me; Gov. George Wallace, Malcom X, the Black Panthers, and the KKK. None of their messages seemed to ring true to my impressionable mind. However, when I remember first hearing Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech, the bar was set to heavenly heights here on my confused and confusing world.
I still get chills when I hear recordings of his voice proclaiming, I have a dream that one day my four children will not be judged by the color of their skin but on the content of their character. He's right I thought. As a 10 year old, even I knew what was fair and wasn't. But his message was more than an apologist's version of what is right and wrong. He shared a strength to love as he walked the walk of the talk he talked. Whether dogs were unleashed on his marchers, fire hoses knocked his followers to the ground, or he was arrested or he was thrown in jail, Dr. King showed me how to love in a hate-filled world. Thank you God for your servant, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King!
Prayer for Today
We thank you God for all your servants who proclaim your gospel and live for your kingdom. As we remember the life of Martin Luther King we pray that you bless us with inspiring dreams and courageous faith. Amen.