I Still Have a Dream
Today, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech turned 51 years old.
Today, was also my birthday, and it has become my custom to spend part of my birthday morning listening to Dr. King’s remarkable sixteen minute speech from 1963. It is one of my favorites of all time. Maybe it’s because he delivered it on my birthday (albeit two years earlier), or maybe it’s because it is just an unbelievable speech. Perhaps it’s both.
With the utmost respect for Dr. King and the cause and people for which he stood, I also have a dream today. It is a dream that is deeply rooted in the faith that he and I and others have professed.
I still have a dream. . .
I have a dream, that one day, the followers of Christ will rise up and live out the true meaning of our creed that all men and women are created in the image of God.1
I have a dream that one day on the red and blue hills of our Capitol, the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve will be able to sit at a table and give the seats of honor to those who have served without recognition.2
I have a dream that my children will be judged not by their capabilities and conquests but by the cross, for it is Love—alone—that covers our steps and missteps.3
I have a dream today that the church—rather than first pointing its fingers and clenching its fists—will instead serve the least and lost of our society with open palms reminiscent of the nail-scarred hands of the one who gave his life that all might have the opportunity to truly live.4
I have a dream that those who rank wrongs would not just give lip service to the phrase, “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.”5
I have a dream that little girls and boys of every color will be able to see that Jesus was not religious but relational, and came not to put people in shackles but to free them.6
I have a dream that faith and grace—rather than fear and grades—will define those who call themselves Christians.
I have a dream today that—just as Dr. King said 51 years ago today when quoting the vision of Isaiah: “. . . one day ‘every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’ 7
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that day. I have a dream today. It’s my birthday and the birthday of Dr. King’s dream. Happy birthday to your dream, Dr. King.
What I remembered today is that all this has to start with me. And you.
Light the candles when you are ready to come to the party. It is going to be epic.
Clicking on the references below simply takes you to that passage on biblegateway.com, which is just an easy way to read the Bible online. It’s not something you will be asked to sign up for.
- Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.↩
- Luke 14:7ff When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:↩
- 1 Peter 4:8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.↩
- Luke 19:10; Matthew 25:34-40For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.↩
- Matthew 5:43-47You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?↩
- Isaiah 61:1-2 (also Luke 4:18-19)The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,↩
- Isaiah 40:4-5Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.↩