As I consider the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded that prophets throughout history stand outside of time because they stand in a reality that is timeless: love. A love that is concerned for the well-being of all peoples. A love that yearns for justice and righteousness—making things right in the world. A love that notices. A love that is not afraid. A love that doesn’t stand by, but takes action.
MLK preached some powerful words, but I especially appreciate these from Strength to Love:
“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one had, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This is strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage.”
Just finished the book of Malachi who repeats the God’s incessant complaint against those God created to love:
“I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:5b [NLT])
Honoring the legacy of MLK and what I profess to believe, how can I feed iron to my deeds, do justice, love mercy, while walking humbly – to live an undivided life this week? I am especially mindful of these things with the inauguration at week’s end. I cannot do it alone. We are not meant to. What practical deed will you act on to take this high road of justice with me?