That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them…these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children…for ever. Jos 4:6-7
January 15, 2016
Our nation will pause this weekend to reminisce on the life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people that are living today were alive during his life and at his death, so the memory of events before and after is still fresh in our minds. We know the importance of the things he did and what they represent for the black population of America. But like in the book of Joshua, where God indicated that some of the miracles would be forgotten and later generations would not appreciate the past, it is important that we set up memorials to bring to remembrance those past events for generations to come.
Happy Martin Luther King’s Day to all those that have cause to rejoice over the victories won and the battles fought for black people to realize equal rights in a country where their fore parents bore the hardship of slavery. Blacks deserve an opportunity to rejoice after all the pain and suffering of the past. But more important than rejoicing is the need to reflect on the lessons learned.
In the bible story above Joshua was instructed by God to set up stones to remind the people of the miracle of crossing the Jordan. It was not just for a memorial about crossing the Jordan. Along with remembering the miracles of that time, God wanted the children of Israel to reflect back on what God had done for them. The miracles did not happen as a fluke of luck that came their way, but the Israelites had a God that cared for them and who helped them every step of the way. God was not finished with His people after they crossed the Jordan, but He needed to help them learn how to prevail in the future. They needed to know that they would not prevail by happenstance or mere determination on their part. They had to learn that their help came from the Hand of God. So along with the story of the crossing of the Jordan, the storyteller was to point out that it was God who led and helped them.
Lest we forget, we must have our memorials in the black community as well. In telling our stories of victories from slave time to the present day, we must not forget to tell children that it was God who helped us. While we remember the importance of the life of Dr. King and celebrate his life and work, we must realize that none of it was possible without God. Dr. King was not just a civil rights leader, but he was a man of God who saw the need to rise up and do the works of Christ.
We could miss the lesson of his life and think that equal civil rights alone is the answer to the black dilemma in America. We could miss the point of this history lesson and think that protesting the political system is the answer. We could even miss the lesson by waiting on our next “Dr. King.” Near the end of his life, Dr. King did sum up his life’s purpose for us in his Drum Major sermon. He just wanted to be remembered as someone who “tried to love someone.” He reviewed the humility of Christ as He served and told us to seek greatness through service and love. Because he set out to bring new freedoms to black people and did accomplish it, we must evaluate his life and extract the message from it. God knew the heart of man and that they had a tendency to lose the message or lessons learned so he made special provisions for the Israelites to set up the memorial with special instructions for the time of celebration or reminiscing. In the times to come and when the descendant’s children would ask: “How came these stones hither?” then the parents would relay the miracles that God had done for their people. God was preparing Himself posterity in the people. He did not want the destiny of the people to be lost to their forgetfulness.
Lest we forget, we must not just celebrate the man and his life, but we must relay the message of his life. It was not just that he believed in something better for himself and his family and pursued that dream; but it was that this man had a faith in God, imitated the life of Christ and sought to bring change while he continued to believe and work toward the dream. If we pursue the dream and forget the God that gave it, then we might as well not celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day. We could all go to Disney World instead and admire the fantasies that came from Walt Disney’s mind.
We must know and remember that there is a God that has a purpose for His people and that He has a destiny for black people in America. We must know that God has no step children but that we are all (black, white, brown, yellow, red) the same in His sight. We must know that we all, as people or believers, have a right to the blessings of God if we trust in Christ. And finally, we must know that we as black people do not have to be subservient all our lives to the dominance of a white majority in America or anywhere else, but that God promotes the righteous and brings down the foundations of the unrighteous. Dr. King showed us that it is possible to rise up and be better and do better in America. It is up to us to move forward with progress from the possibility to the reality. If we pursue the results and forget the way he showed us, we will have missed the lesson of his life.
God never told any people that the way to full rights and blessings was through petitioning a governmental authority. Moses told Pharaoh what God demanded. The Israelites had a right to be free and it was time for Pharaoh to let them go. It was not a request but a demand from the Sovereign God coming to see about His people. If we continue to believe and petition the Supreme God instead of a secular government, we, too, in America can see a time when: “… all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a mighty, We are free at last.’ While remembering ML King, let’s not forget the KING OF KINGS!
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Lk 4:18-21
HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY!