Dr. King, at 80

2008-0376     Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. would be 80.

     He was 39 at the time of his assassination. He has been gone longer than he was alive.

     Still, the legacy lives on. Even after Coretta has died, too.

     We cannot forget. Even as we inaugurate Barack Obama. In fact, that glorious moment is one more down payment on the debt we owe, not only to him but also to each other.

     Dr. King led us out of our national racist wilderness, although we are not entirely in the Promised Land of full racial justice and reconciliation. Not yet. His example is to continue the journey, no matter how tired we become.

     And there is more, too. Reading old speeches and sermons, and his books, reminds us that he had a vision so much larger than the end of Jim Crow, essential though that was, and is.

     He had a dream alright. It was for the Beloved Community–a nation, and a world, without hunger, without violence and war, without poverty, without injustice of any kind.

     Dr. King did not aspire to lead a movement, or a nation. But when God put the task before him, he did not shirk. He did not hide.

      God has something for you, for me, for us, to do. Accept the challenge, don’t make excuses, claim the purpose and power God has for you.

      Do something today that changes you, so that you become a stronger voice, a more active presence in the struggle– the struggle for peace, for feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, ending racist, sexist, homophobic oppression.

     Remember Dr. King–not just in sweet images in commercials, but in the street, in the homes, in the neighborhoods, where people live, where people need food, and shelter, and clothing, and peace.

     And love.