Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World
On this day many of us are stopping to remember the words, the marches, the imprint of the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. On this day we lean especially into those words that launched us into freedom. On this day we wonder whether or not we are continuing in those steps that faced down oppression, injustice, hatred. On this day we remember that there is much more work to be done.
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 match to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s a day to recommit our hearts and our hands to the work that is yet to be done. I see it everyday driving to work and in many of the faces I encounter throughout the day. I hear it on the radio and see it written in the paper. We are an incredible country, always have been. But we fall so short of who we could be ~ together.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
~ MLK, Jr.
Each of us listen particularly, hearing it through our lives to Pastor King’s words. Each of us has something of which to be reminded. Each of us has miles to go before we sleep. Each of us. Again this year, I working through and toward forgiveness. This spiritual practice is not a checklist to be crossed off, but a rending and opening of my heart in a new way that brings grace.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper to a night already devoid of stars…Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
~ MLK, Jr.
As I stop this day, may I not be content with only remembering. This day may I recommit this one life I’ve been given to standing up and standing for. This day may I look my neighbor in eyes and not turn away. This day may I choose to live into the light that will lead me, lead us all to what’s next.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.