This year started much like the last one ended—in a political fight with our dukes up.
We seem to argue daily: in conversations at home, in the workplace, and, yes, even in our houses of worship. People of faith are having trouble speaking civilly to one another as they hunker down in their respective political corners in the ring.
It’s been a long 16 days since the beginning of the year, and so it is appropriate that Martin Luther King Day is here.
We need to celebrate this peacemaker; we need to hear his dream again and refuel our faith for the journey out of the ring and into reconciliation.
The road is long and slow. Consider that 54 years ago, King first spoke his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington.
Five years later, an assassin’s bullet struck him down.
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But not before he envisioned the Poor People’s Campaign, a plan for “southern states and northern cities to meet with government ofﬁcials to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and education for poor adults and children designed to improve their self-image and self-esteem.”
President Ronald Reagan signed a bill 34 years ago to create a federal holiday honoring King saying, “…traces of bigotry still mar America. So, each year on Martin Luther King Day, let us not only recall Dr. King, but rededicate ourselves to the Commandments he believed in and sought to live every day: ‘Thou shall love the God with all thy heart, and thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.’”
Today, King would be 88, and the journey continues. Traces of bigotry, racism, sexism, ageism and the many other ills that keep us from freedom still mar America.
We won’t solve it all in 2017, but acting on our faith will get a few steps closer.
How will you honor Martin Luthern King today?
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship for Women of the ELCA.
Photo: In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l to r, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee / World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons