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because history begs us to look back

i had something different scheduled for today. but i was reminded that today is a special day. today is a day on which Americans remember a remarkable and courageous man. a man who risked his life, his reputation, his family's safety to ignite a fire in his people: an insatiable thirst and demand for  real freedom.

i'm not here today to comment on the current state of things, our success or failure in this area. i know that some of you would suggest we have much further to go, and others of you are completely ignorant of what i could possibly mean by that. that's not why i'm here today.

i'm simply here to remind us of the one who started it all. can you imagine the courage and resolve that it took to face the American landscape of segregation and discrimination and brutality and disgusting racism? i can't really fathom it.

Martin Luther King Jr., in my humble opinion, is a hero of our Christian faith, quite simply.

a man who advocated non violence, even as his fellow men and women were being killed, wrongly imprisoned, brutally beaten, and blatantly discriminated against for no reason other than the color of their skin?

In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. 
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

and he had an incredible dream. a risky and shocking dream for its time. something that looks a lot like our reality today, at least in my corner of the country. it's hard to believe things were ever different, but history begs us to look back and look hard at the way things used to be. it begs us never to forget the depths of sin from which we've come... and it begs us never to return:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood... 
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character...
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 there 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...
I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

and friends, what i want you to realize today is this:

this is the very dream of our God. this is what heaven looks like this very moment. all races, all tongues, all colors, all joining together as brothers and sisters, worshiping Him.

this is God's kingdom. 

and a man who bravely and beautifully imagined it here on earth only realized it a few years later upon his untimely death. can you imagine the glory he beheld, as that dream was fulfilled in the presence of the Lord? 

i'm struck by that today, and so thankful that our God does not discriminate against color, language, race, class, gender, and most astounding -- the depth of destruction and sin in our lives. He just asks us to come as we are and He's simply looking for those who would honor Him. those who would believe and confess and bow, whatever we look like.

relish that Truth today, friends. and then be thankful for the rich history we enjoy, and the opportunity we have today to continue to realize this dream in our own lives, schools, churches, workplaces. don't take it for granted.

real people suffered and died for the beautiful cultural landscape that we know and experience today. and it is, most assuredly, God's dream for us as brothers and sisters in Christ.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

if you never have, watch his speech here. you will be moved:

and you can read the entire thing here.


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