Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
My clearest memories of 1965 are in black and white. In grade school back then if your class had been good your teacher would request a television be wheeled in on a big cart and you could spend part of class time watching the World Series since all the games back then were day games. Many of us would remained glued to that black and white television screen for every pitch. That’s the year Sandy Koufax’ name was written into baseball history.
Across the country, though, in the spring time of that same year, there was a different kind of history being made in black and white, only this was much bigger than any ball game, these events would not only be written about, historically, but would literally change the course of history. That’s the year Martin Luther King Jr. marched at Selma, Alabama.
Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t on my personal radar as a child in Southern California. But my life would be indebted to him, all the same, even though he was killed before I reached double-digits. Because later in life I became a Christian, and Martin Luther King Jr. began to represent, to me at least, the heart of the gospel of Jesus, both in the things he wrote and the passion with which he lived.
One of the things Dr. King said that would ultimately have a great impact on me, personally was about being an ‘extremist for love”. He said:
“But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ Was not Amos an extremist for justice: ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.’ Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: ‘I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’ . . . So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”
It’s been over 50 years now, since the Selma marches, and that message not only still resonates, but is probably more timely and important for our country to hear than ever.
The photo attached here is a magazine cover from Selma, to Dr. Kings right is the Bishop of the oldest church in the world, the Orthodox Church. He perceived the events in Selma the same way Dr. King did, that these days would make or break this relatively young nation. So he flew in that day to stand alongside the young preacher in full support. I believe that, together, Dr. King and the Bishop are displaying the heart of God for unity, brotherhood, the dignity of humanity, and extreme love, to the world of 1965, and the fractured world of today. Heed the call, dear ones.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21