Monday Musings: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What is a prophet? Let me try this as a definition: one who names the situation truthfully and in its largest context. When we can name the situation truthfully and in its largest context, it cannot get pulled into interest groups and political expediency. Martin Luther King Jr. was a biblical prophet.[1]

 In Latin [sub specie aeternitatis] means, “In light of eternity.” To consider things in light of eternity is a great clarifier. Maybe it comes to us on our death bed, when we think to ourselves, “Is this going to mean anything? Does this really matter? Is this little thing we’re upset about now and taking offense at going to mean anything in light of eternity?” The prophet or prophetess speaks truthfully and in the largest context. [1]

In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, he spoke from the “big frame” to call for a revolution of values based on love:

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all [humankind].… When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is of God. And everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.… If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and [God’s] love is perfected in us” [1 John 4:7–8, 12]. Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. [2]

LOVE is the great clarifier. If we can learn to turn our hearts and minds to what love looks like and then act according to that higher vibration, we would have heaven on earth.

“Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. He who loves is a participant in the being of God.”

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong.”

“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

“Hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.”

“I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

[1]Richard Rohr Daily Meditation: Big Picture Thinkers

[2] Martin Luther King Jr., “Beyond Vietnam,” in A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard (New York: Warner Books, 2001), 160–161.

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