We remember Martin Luther King, Jr. and the legacy of freedom and equality that he brought to the world. One of the most important things to remember is that the civil rights movement was born in the church. Rev. King’s non-violent campaign to end segregation landed him in jail many times. From a jail in Birmingham, Alabama he wrote to the clergy: “If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning.”
Still today his words ring true as the struggle for human rights and equality continues. Wherever I go, the churches who are thriving and making a difference in this world have that spirit of sacrifice and service that gives it authenticity. Only when we choose to suffer for righteousness sake we can change the wrongs in this world.
May Martin Luther King Day be a day “on” and not a day “off” in service in your community. May you speak out for justice when you see someone being treated unfairly. May you use your means, your influence, your heart, your soul, your strength to work for peace where there is discord. As you go, have hope and don’t be discouraged when the work is difficult.
Rev. King said in his “I Have a Dream” sermon: “Go back (home) knowing this situation can and will be changed. Don’t wallow in the valley of despair.”
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson