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Tuesday Devotion 1-19-21

The day AFTER Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Let us not forget.

On Sunday afternoon, my wife Mary asked me what we should do on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I replied that I often attend a prayer breakfast with some of the Central Baptist Church staff but with our lives knocked around by Covid-19 this year I really hadn’t given much thought to what the day should contain.

After doing a little research & already knowing that many of the our day’s typical events had been the rest of the year so far converted to Zoom & Facebook Live events, we stumbled across an old ‘friend’ from days of yester year, Powderhorn Park Recreation Center & their “23rd Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, an online event Monday, 10am-noon.

The morning was filled with music & poetry, children & teens & adults, commemorating the great civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. but to remind us all of the many passionate words he spoke.

They displayed video footage of Dr King’s speech on the “promissory note” that America had defaulted on, that ALL MEN, would receive the promises of life, liberty & happiness. And of course there were the other memorable quotes: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” “The time is always right to do what’s right.” And of course the many memorable & poignant phrases & challenges existing in his most famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech--the one having captivated all of us so many years ago: “I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

The cost to Martin Luther King Jr personally and to those who joined his peaceful resistance movement was steep, but soon real change began. God used that speech to awaken America to fight for the freedom of the oppressed & the marginalized.

Enjoy listening to the “Black National Anthem.” Link

Isaiah was used by God to awaken the conscience of His people (much like the Reverend King awakened the conscience of much of the US). God’s people were oppressing the poor and substituting religious practices for genuine godly living. Isaiah reminded Israel that God’s call was to genuine repentance and setting people free. God continues to challenge, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to proclaim that freedom and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

I was just 13 years old when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Sadly, I took for granted the freedoms I had enjoyed & never considered the harsh realities others faced, particularly persons of color in our “United” States.

We talk about the legacy of Dr. King, but what about your legacy and mine? How will we be remembered, what shall we have stood & worked for while on this earth? What will be the seen content of our lives? I pray that our lives might be a legacy of justice & equality for all individuals.

Micah 6:8 cries out, “He has shown you what is good; and what the Lord requires of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Let this be the activity of our lives, because of what Christ has done in us, and because the idea of “deepening in love for Jesus” is to have an overflow of “love for (our) neighbor.”

Recently we have witnessed a resurgence in racial tensions that not only is dividing our country but literally, and horribly, destroying the lives of people and what goes without being said, is the fact that there is an enemy motivated by evil, who will stop at nothing to make sure that everything that is good is destroyed.

The Bible tells what the battle is & how we should prepare for it: "Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:11-12)

So, as we head into a hopeful tomorrow, let us be fueled by yesterday’s remembrance, and let us be propelled forward by the iconic ending of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. For it is not only his words but God’s heart.

Audio Link

“…and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

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