Today, a Federal holiday called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2019, marks day 31 of a government shutdown. What is going on? Leaders painted themselves into corners and moved further and further away from one another. The division looms and creates a bleak outlook for the future. In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”
We need help. We need guidance. We need someone who can teach Jesus’ radical love for one another. We need Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inspirational words and leadership for the disparate movements for justice and equality.
We do not need more division. We do not need to exclude others. We do not need to build things—either physically or metaphorically—that separate us from one another.
Where is the voice calling out in the wilderness “prepare the way for the Lord” (Isaiah 40.3; Luke 3.4)?
People seem to struggle with that simple message from Jesus “love your enemies” (Matthew 5.44). The problem with loving our enemies is they cease to be our enemies when we love them, for we cannot hate what we love. By definition, enemies are those who we hate.
King expanded on Jesus’ message of love. He explained it for his listeners in his “Love Your Enemies” sermon. He said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”*
Too much hate exists in the world today. It has always been around. But, the shadows of darkness seem to be expanding as shown by the intractable positions creating the impasse in the U.S. federal government.
Darkness does not win. Light wins. Turning on a lamp in any dark room makes this point. The darkness runs from the light.
Today, we can be evidence of the light. We can be sources of love. In the spirit of nonviolence and peace-seeking, we can celebrate King’s legacy by letting our light of love shine.
May it be brighter today than it was yesterday. And, may it be brighter tomorrow than it is today.
* Martin Luther King, Jr. Strength to Love(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1963), p. 53