On the fiftieth anniversary of Dr King's death, his legacy stands as tall as ever. Throughout his life he powerfully preached the redemptive message, 'Let freedom ring.'
What stands out to me as Martin Luther King's most winsome attribute was his Jesus-like approach to matters of justice, that has its foundations in love, with its effects of peace. It can be read here:
"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
Here Dr King cites that it is conceivable and possible to fight for something without fighting.
Dr King gave his life to the belief in change through non-violent action - a creative dissent. He was a paragon of Jesus-faith. He was a practitioner of Christ in winning a justice for all, defined by love, which has its outworking in the contentment of a sustainable peace. He rallied against violence on all sides of the political spectrum, always meeting such disdain for peace compassionately, understanding the human fear that underpins it. He worked tirelessly for an ideal that has in many ways become a reality - even though the fight for unequivocal equality may never be truly won. Dr King believed fiercely for the gentle sovereignty of soul force that overcomes.
Martin Luther King was gifted not only with a heart for peace and justice, but with a grace with words that commanded attention. Oh, what a great orator he was! And an essential part of his oratory was that heart for peace and justice.
Perhaps of all the things Dr King did, as Jesus did, was to challenge us; to inspire us through our own visceral responses, to resolve our anger and work toward true love, which is a soul-accepting peace.
Today Dr King would have been in his ninetieth year, and yet the world lost his Jesus-styled leadership over half that time ago. We certainly need more leaders in the King mould, people prepared to shelve their own interests in seeking what is best for all at all times.
So, Lord, I thank You for the life of Dr King, that he stood for Jesus, and for his rich legacy that continues to this day. May you raise up people in our age and in the ages coming who will stand how Dr King stood? I pray this in Jesus' incredible peace-teaching and peace-living name. Amen.