We begin this year with monthly affirmations. January’s affirmation is: “Grace and gratitude lead me to a deeper awareness of God.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. was both a mystic and a prophet. A mystic sees and a prophet acts. He/she interferes with injustice. King’s life message encourages us to be the same. We remember Martin Luther King Jr. Day this Monday and celebrate his message to envision a positive future in Sunday’s lesson.
Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly had the courage to imagine, which in essence is to dream. His “I Have a Dream” speech is his most famous. I’m including just the very end of it here, since it still applies today:
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
"This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, 'My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.'
"And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'”
These are the words of a prophet and a mystic. They reach across time to inspire us still. May we all have the courage to imagine, to dream, and then to act on behalf of freedom and justice always.
Love & blessings,