MLK Day seems to be one of the few National holiday’s I find myself appreciating. In our country, in modern times, I think Dr. King is one of the few examples of what the church should look like in this day and age. His words, many actual sermons, are so inspiring and moving, they have had a lasting impact on my life. I’ve been to MLK events in most of the cities we’ve lived, and there is something so encouraging about standing amongst others recognizing both the strides we’ve made (and the impact committed people of faith can have) and acknowledging the road ahead.
Enough of my words though, I want to strongly encourage you to take in and read and listen to the words of Dr. King. If you’ve never heard the I Have A Dream speech in it’s entirity, I suggest you listen to it. But, whether you have or not, what you really should do is read and listen to his other speeches and sermons. I’ll put some links to audio, videos and text below.
This is a inspiring audio/visual piece about MLK that I think is worth a watch. Just ignore the first part about Bush, the stuff about Dr. King is really motivating:
-Pride by U2 (Real Player) (Not Dr. King, but about him)
-Robert F. Kennedy Speech On The Assassination Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Real Player)
-NPR audio about Dr. King (link)
–Letter from Birmingham Jail (A Must read for any Christian)
-The King Center (link)
-MLK Memorial (link)
I have a Dream – 17 minutes
I’ve Been To The Mountain Top – 2 minutes
How Long, Not Long – 2 minutes
Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.
I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam?
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves.
Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
There is little hope for us until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am 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.
Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.
Like any man, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now.
You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, “Are you Martin Luther King?”
And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that’s punctured, you drown in your own blood — that’s the end of you.
It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I’ve forgotten what those telegrams said. I’d received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I’ve forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I’ll never forget it. It said simply, “Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the Whites Plains High School.” She said, “While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.”
And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn’t sneeze.