On the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, when I have the chance, I enjoy asking children what we are celebrating with this holiday. The children, especially those in elementary school, can readily answer. They tell about Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. They tell about the speech King made in Washington, D.C. They say he led the Civil Rights movement in our country.
Then I ask, “Do you know what he did for a living? What was his job?” And more often than not, the children do not have an answer. They don’t know.
They don’t know that he was a minister of the gospel, a Baptist pastor, to be exact. They may know that his words changed our world, but they may not know that all his words were steeped in the vocabulary and imagery of Scripture. They may know that he practiced non-violent resistance, but they may not make the connection that he did so because it was the Jesus way.
So, if you have children, I want to invite you to ask your kids tomorrow, “Do you know what King’s job was?” May your question start a conversation.
And if you have 17 minutes to spare, do yourself the favor of listening to King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” It is surely a sacred text for us as Americans. And in this chapter of our history, when race relations are strained in many cities, perhaps these words can inspire us all again.
Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRIF4_WzU1w
Grace and peace,