The third Monday in the month of January has been a national holiday, marked to commemorate the legacy of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr since 1983. Many people take the day off and others use it as a “day on,” to fortify the moral fiber of our nation by engaging in service projects and helping community members. As the year continues, we all should work towards keeping Dr. King’s dream alive and integrating it into our own aspirations for America’s future.
The social events of the past few months concerning the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York give pause to the conscience of righteous people. The deaths of African American males without the opportunity of the trial to hear all sides of the story leading up to the deaths is problematic. The church community according to scripture, in dealing with grave matters of this type, must “fast and pray.” Pray for strength to remain non-violent and fast from the materialism, over-consumption, commercialization, and systemic corporate powers, even police powers, which neutralize our will and ability to seek justice.
Paul explained to the Romans that law is a powerless force when compared to the savior, Jesus Christ.
“Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?… 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7: 1-6).
Because of Christ’s divine gift of rebirth, Christians are ultimately bound to our relationship to God, above all. Only through manifesting the Holy Spirit can we fully demonstrate love, pleasing in the eyes of God, and help America become a true beacon of light for the world.
God is a God of justice and requires each us to speak truth to corrupt powers and demand their accountability. The reason that Dr. King’s dream resonates over 50 years later is because it’s implications are much more significant than the passing of a law or election of a black president. Standing on a platform of godly love, his words transformed the imagination of the entire nation. People realized that the stain of the status quo didn’t have to taint the nation’s future. On a grassroots level, Dr. King is the consummate advocate, demonstrating effective strategies and techniques for mobilizing the masses and achieving change. Despite his legacy of activism, today, African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, homelessness, unemployment and inequitable educational opportunities. The movement coined #BlackLivesMatter has renewed a sense of communal identity and united people of all races, cultures and ages, to ensure that all men are treated equal in this country. People of God and goodwill have a responsibility to confront ungodly corruption, peacefully. Ministry work should have an impact beyond immediate church congregations. Seek to find a cause where you can use God’s love and sew seeds of justice.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
All Nations Baptist Church