On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2012 I read once again his speech “I Have a Dream.” It will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of people around the world. Dr. King’s talk included all areas of social justice, not only racial equality. On that immortal day at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 King called for a day when “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able of join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro Spiritual ‘Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’” This is what Jesus was trying to teach us as well.
The Sunday after Dr. King was assassinated he was to deliver a sermon entitled “Why America May Go to Hell.” The main point of his sermon was “if America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty, to make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.” He was working on this sermon just before he was killed.
Dr. King calls us still today to work for racial, cultural, inter-religious, gender and economic equality for all people. It is so simple, but we make it so hard. We humans can’t seem to live it because there is this tendency in our hearts toward bigotry, selfishness, and ethnocentricity. It is easier to hate than to love.
One of my all-time favorite pop songs is “Hands” by Jewel. The first line of this song goes like this: “If I could tell the world just one thing it would be, we’re all OK.” That would be my dream on this cold winter day. I dream that everyone would accept everyone who is different and tell them they are “OK.” I pray we can find ways to build bridges of understanding, forgiveness and collaboration. Then we will be free at last.