April 5, 2008

Remembering Dr. King

Today was a monumental anniversary in the life of the United States. It was the 40 years ago today that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis. I have stood in the shadows of the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, and I have stood in the pulpit of the Washington National Cathedral where Dr. King preached his last sermon. But the most moving memory I have of Dr. King's legacy was one summer at Camp Gailor-Maxon.

I had just completed 10th grade. The theme at camp that summer was about breaking free from oppression. We were in the Pavilion on a warm, breezy summer morning. The chaplain opened our morning program with a prayer, and invited us to sit and make ourselves comfortable. Then, without introduction, we began hearing Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. To this day, every time I hear him say, "I have a dream," I am taken back to that moment in the summer of 1992, and I remember the chills that went down my spine while I was listening. We talked about breaking the bonds of oppression, and how we, as high schoolers, could do that in our own lives and in our own neighborhoods.

It would be nice to think that Dr. King's dream had come true. The good news is that it's closer to reality today than it was in 1963. The sad news is that we still have a long way to go.

My hope and prayer is that we will continue to help make Dr. King's dream a reality as our days increase.

Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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