Few speeches have stirred hearts as much as Martin Luther King‘s speech in 1963 which includes the moving words “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Much has been done to end racial and other forms of discrimination in society since 1963, and for this we must be grateful. There is more to do.
Louise Da-Cocodia, a committed former member (and former churchwarden) of our congregation, was a great inspiration to us and many others. Louise was a joyful and gracious lady and also a fearless campaigner against racism, and other forms of discrimination, in our society. In her home Louise had displayed a large portrait of Martin Luther King, and underneath were the words ‘Keep the dream alive’ – an appropriate reminder that we need to be alert and committed to fighting against racism and discrimination to this day.
The United States celebrate Martin Luther King on the third Monday of January, and several churches (but, unfortunately, not the Church of England) commemorate him in their calendars too.
Here are some quotations of Martin Luther King to ponder today, why not choose one which strikes you and keep it in mind?
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Two prayers of Martin Luther King:
O God, we thank you for the fact that you have inspired men and women in all nations and in all cultures. We call you different names: some call you Allah; some call you Elohim; some call you Jehovah; some call you Brahma; some call you the Unmoved Mover. But we know that these are all names for one and the same God. Grant that we will follow you and become so committed to your way and your kingdom that we will be able to establish in our lives and in this world a brother and sisterhood, that we will be able to establish here a kingdom of understanding, where men and women will live together as brothers and sisters and respect the dignity and worth of every human being. In the name and spirit of Jesus. Amen.
O God, we thank you for the lives of great saints and prophets in the past, who have revealed to us that we can stand up amid the problems and difficulties and trials of life and not give in. We thank you for our foreparents, who’ve given us something in the midst of the darkness of exploitation and oppression to keep going. Grant that we will go on with the proper faith and the proper determination of will, so that we will be able to make a creative contribution to this world. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray.