Dion, American singer and songwritter, recorded one of my favourite songs, “Abraham, Martin and John.” It is about the untimely deaths of three key figures in American history and the Civil Rights movement. Two presidents and one Baptist preacher. Bobby Kennedy was added to the song as well.
The 15th of January is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S.; an opportunity to commemorate his legacy in the cause of freedom for Blacks and oppressed people around the world. His words and actions continue to inspire people today (continues to inspire me).
Dion asks, in the song, “Didn't you love the things they stood for?” Yes, I did and I do.
Each man was, I suppose, flawed. The question is, however, didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Martin Luther King Jr, stood for civil rights and non-violence. Laws needed to change and the way those laws were applied needed to change. That’s true, still today. But it seems to me that the famous “I Have A Dream” speech isn’t so much about legislation and application of laws as it is about changing the hearts and minds of people so that little boys and girls, no matter their race or ethnicity, could play together.
In this effort, we need to work together—parents, teachers, preachers, coaches, neighbours, entertainers—anyone who has any influence on people, particularly on children. Together we can make King’s dream a reality.
Did you love the things they stood for, is a powerful question and it is the part of the song that makes me think of Jesus. If there is some sort of qualifier at the pearly gates is just might be Jesus asking, “did you love the things I loved?” Did you visit the lonely, feed the hungry, house the homeless…
All the problems of the world can’t possibly rest on my shoulders. The act of loving, of the agape* Jesus expect of us, is a deliberate and corporate act. We do this loving-thing together.
*Agape—the highest form of love; the love God has for humanity and the love humanity has for God. It is the love feast we have been called to.