Every now and then God raises up a voice, one calling from the wilderness, to cry out and proclaim on behalf of God's vision, Jesus' mission, the Spirit's leading that all humans regardless of what make us physically, politically, religiously, and ideologically different are the same in Him. God is the one and only God and that means that He loves ALL of His creation...equally. Even if they don't love him back and even if they choose to not love whom He loves. These voices, prophets of God, that are raised up are proclaiming God's truth and challenging us to love His way and find equality in Christ.
Today we celebrate one of those voices. Martin Luther King Jr. was many things. He was a black man during civil unrest, a preacher who quoted scripture, a great orator, a husband, a father, a brother, a friend, a peaceful protestor, an activist, and a...prophet. I live in the south and I haven't seen this in years until just recently, but some southerners want to focus on his imperfections, his race, or spin the story into him just being a troublemaker. MLK Jr. wasn't perfect and isn't our savior (Jesus is), but if he is defined as simply as a minority or a troublemaker, then he is in good company...Jesus. The Pharisees were the white privilege of their time and worked with the Roman government to execute a prophet who was really the Messiah. They didn't like his contact with the unclean and his dinners with tax collectors and sinners. They didn't appreciate his grace extended to the adulterous woman and his condemnation of the rich exploiting the poor. They found his theology blasphemous and stories inciting. The Pharisees did not like the competition and the changes and found a way to rid themselves of this nuisance. MLK Jr. in his day was thought of much the same. And like Jesus, if you listen to his messages (which were drawn straight from scripture) all he wanted was equality for all races, colors, and creeds. He wasn't trying to put a different race on top, but help the world, especially our country, realize that God made us male and female, male and female he made them in His image. And during a time of civil unrest, that is a prophetic voice.
So today I not only celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. but all of those who have challenged the world to live God's vision for humanity. Paul states it best,
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death--
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
-Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)
Unfortunately in our world, equality has not been grasped yet. Some are still trying to equal themselves to God or actually take God's place. Be careful of those who venerate the rich, while exploiting or oppressing the poor. You won't find that directive in scripture. Jesus spends his life for the oppressed, marginalized, and those trying to pursue God with their whole heart. My hope is that our country could lay down its pride enough to lift someone else above themselves. The heart of Black Lives Matter is not to forget or trample on the idea that All lives matter, it is that the black community has become that one sheep, that one coin, that one son that has been lost and needs to be brought into the fuller community. The shepherd didn't forget his other 99 sheep and think they didn't matter. The woman didn't forget her other coins and consider them worthless. The Father didn't forget his older son and disown him. NO! In all instances the focus had to be moved from the whole of the group to the One in the group that needed to be brought to equality. If we cannot get behind that idea and that message and be the voice for the one, then we are going to have a difficult time being a true disciple of Jesus.
So thank you Martin Luther King Jr. and your contribution to civil rights and more importantly your contribution God's Kingdom. Thank you for allowing God to use you as HIs prophet! You gave your life for a Kingdom message.
And I wonder, who has God raised up in this day to become the prophet we need to hear?