Today, the United States observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In doing so, we remember and celebrate a leader, visionary, and one of the foremost people who authentically lived and understood what it really means (in its most difficult of ways) to love one’s neighbor.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of service, a day of reflection, and a day of learning and making a commitment to change for the better. It’s a day created to serve and make our communities and world a better place in the images of Dr. King’s dreams and vision. It’s a day for us to reflect on the calls he shared and help others share about learning to accept one another as equal members and participants of community. It’s a day to take seriously those calls and to do something about it.
There are plenty of opportunities across the United States today to be involved and to learn a little about Martin Luther King, Jr. (If you are in the Twin Cities you might check out this series of events scheduled to take place at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.)
In taking a step back and reflecting myself, this past summer I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. There you can visit the sanctuary at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King preached for much of his ministry, the house he was born in and grew up in, his and his wife’s tomb, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a museum and collection or two, as well as a number of other important parts and reflections about his impact. If you have never visited before, I encourage you to do so.
Upon my visit I stumbled across a book I had never seen before by Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Needless to say with my interests that you can discern through this blog, it was a no-brainer to purchase this book. And in honor of MLK, I want to leave you with this passage that is a part of King’s powerful concluding chapter which I encourage you to read. The depth of this passage is really on my mind today. Give it some reflection, and see where your heart and mind lead you in reflecting on it.
“A true revolution of value will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed as they make their journey through life. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (198)
Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1968).