Monday, January 17, 2011

We need more than a King Day...

Today is the day set aside to mark and to celebrate the birth of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. It is a day rife with significance for even a cursory examination of Dr. King's life and legacy displays a touchstone of faith in action, courageous protest, and scholarship...

But we must be careful to not allow King as 'symbol' to outweigh or overshadow King's 'substance'. For Dr. King was, at his best, a soldier... An exemplary and incredibly gifted soldier. Not the first, nor the last, but one who took his place among the thousands who have stood up against ignorance, inequity, and intolerance, and waged peace with his very life. 

His life was an action. His legacy was his work. His words were and remain powerful, not because they were simply well chosen, but rather because they described the act of creating freedom - the act that he dedicated his life to...

So it is important that as we honor King, that we not honor his words while neglecting his work. For if I were a farmer, who had dedicated my life to tilling the soil, planting, and harvesting, so that my family and community could eat. If I were to pass away, I would hope that I not be honored by people telling tales about the great crops I had once grown, or telling stories about how wonderfully they once ate, or singing hymns about what a wonderful farmer I once was... I hope that I would be honored by those who loved me and who believed in the worth and significance of my actions, picking up my hoe and rake, and continuing the work that I started.

And that is why today I say we need more than a King 'Day', we need a King 'Commitment'. A commitment that transcends the fleeting recognition that the "struggle continues". A commitment that is larger than the annual recitations of the I have a Dream speech. A commitment that compels us, in whatever way our time and circumstances allows, to do something inconvenient that will help somebody. To stand up and right just one wrong. To speak up one time, when it would be so much easier to simply remain silent.  To offer encouragement to one youth who is going down the wrong path. Or simply to help somebody keep the faith, when the weight of the world starts weighing them down.

Just one thing - then another...

And if we each do that, we will all be one giant step closer to rebuilding the 'beloved community' that Dr. King gave his life for...

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INTJ - "Mastermind". Introverted intellectual with a preference for finding certainty. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 2.1% of total population.
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