We paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the recent 50th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech during the march on Washington at church today. I know that Dr. King was a fallible man like the rest of us humans. I am sure he had his share of faults and bad days. But when I think of all he accomplished in his life, I just can’t help but stand amazed. What allowed this man to be such a force for good in his lifetime? What it his faith in God, his knowledge or bravery? Let me say up front that I am no expert on Dr. King. But what I tend to be struck by most when I learn about Dr. King’s legacy is his ability to stay grounded in his core during strong turbulence.
This was a man that knew deep in his soul what was right and of value. He also had a strong vision for how his own life would bring these values to life. Not only did King’s strong center enable him to stand up and speak out when his time came, but it also enabled him to press on when resistance flared. I can’t imagine facing threats of arrest, violence, and assassination day after day. But Dr King not only faced these difficulties with resolution, but he seemed from the outside to do so with relative peace. The brilliance of his leadership in the Civil Rights movement was that he did not respond to violence with violence or hatred with hatred. He seemed to be able to root down into some deep, deep place that helped him make a stand without being sucked into the spinning chaos around him.
So today, I pay tribute to this man of dreams and action. I pray for the grace to have even a portion of his conviction and vision. For the real purpose of a centered life is not to have inner quiet for ourselves, but to have a passion for service to God and others. And when this happens, who knows what dreams might come true.
For those interested in watching the full speech on you tube