Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech

As unbelievable as it may seem for those old enough to remember the assassination of Martin Luther King,... it occurred 42 years ago this week. Last year Dale Dawson, Bishop John, and I visited the Lorraine Motel, the site of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. It is now a civil rights museum worthy of a very thoughtful visit.

Please click on the link above the photo and listen to the closing words of MLK's last speech, delivered at the “Church of God in Christ”. Although the video is cut a bit short, know that King literally collapsed into his folding chair and he required physical assistance. The 39 year old preacher was done, truly done,… and within hours he was dead. Odd coincidence, or astonishing prophecy?

I have no desire or intention to get political here. (Politics is no longer my primary interest, but rather honest, heart-felt dialogue on more basic matters.) However, I hope that we all welcome and celebrate the progress in U.S. race relations since the 1960s, and that we also look forward to the work and progress yet to be accomplished, whatever that should look like and however it should be achieved. Surely we must continue to feel great discomfort with our personal and corporate deficits in our commitment to "love our neighbor" and to demonstrate that “all are made in the image of God".

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." MLK

"If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive." MLK