January 8

I have chosen Abraham, that he my charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. Genesis 18:19

Jesus said to the disciples, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing. Luke 22:35

In the middle of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, he said: “There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

Whirlwinds of revolt shaking the foundations of our nation? Sounds kind of violent for Martin Luther King, right?

Well, he wasn’t saying that he himself was going to take up arms, or that others should do so. We know that. He wasn’t about to lead a violent revolt, or to plant bombs that literally shake foundations.

But he was saying that there will be turmoil until justice is granted. There will be no peace until the vision, the dream, is made real.

There will be no peace until people learn to live in the vision that God has set before them. Those who do not work for justice, who intentionally or even unintentionally perpetuate cycles of injustice, will be devoured by the sword. There will be no peace until we learn to live together as neighbors.

And as followers of Christ, as Christ’s ambassadors, mean that we are the ones who should do good. We are the ones who should seek justice. We are the ones who should pursue peace. We are the ones who should defend the weak and the poor.

Martin Luther King, Jr. used a violent metaphor not because he advocated violence, but because he lived in a violent time. The violence came about through society’s injustice and inequality. And, nothing has changed. We are not doing our job, being ambassadors of Christ. We are remaining silent, when we should be speaking out. There is injustice everywhere, inequality at every turn. Martin Luther King Jr. knew that injustice and violence were linked, and that justice and peace were also linked.

Alexander Campbell once wrote that the only way to conquer an enemy is to turn him into a friend. It is possible…………………………

“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Father, you have chosen us as your people to live your righteousness and justice. But we confess that too often our relationships with you and our neighbor are not “right”. We need your help. Please come to our aid and show us your way, your truth, and your life, for your name’s sake. Amen.

Peace,

Susan Hanson