"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." As a mother of two sons, I feel that way. I feel that about anybody and I would defy anyone to say that their dreams are different than that for any of their loved ones. When it comes down to it, character is more important that the color of skin, the contents of bank accounts, or the wielding of power.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For some today is just a day off. For others it represents acknowledgement of a struggle that is still happening. I am embarrassed to say that I do not know too much about Dr. King. Just snippets of information: I have heard bits of his speeches. I once had a psychology professor who had been a doctoral student with him. I had attended a seminar in which his daughter was one of the main speakers. I know of his marches and his assassination. But I have never really learned about the man.
In looking at the transcripts of his various speeches I was struck with his speech: The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life given at New Covenant Baptist Church Chicago Illinois, April 9, 1967.
His three dimensions result in:
1) Loving yourself and doing the best job you can: "If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill: Be a scrub in the valley—but be the best little scrub on the side of the hill".
2) Loving your neighbor: "Now the breadth of life is the outward concern for the welfare of others, as I said. And a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
3) Loving God: "We must move beyond humanity and reach up, way up for the God of the universe, whose purpose changeth not....As I come to my conclusion this morning, I want to say that we should search for him. We were made for God, and we will be restless until we find rest in him. And I say to you this morning that this is the personal faith that has kept me going"
"Go out this morning. Love yourself, and that means rational and healthy self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That’s the length of life. Then follow that: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That’s the breadth of life. And I’m going to take my seat now by letting you know that there’s a first and even greater commandment: "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, (Yeah) with all thy soul, with all thy strength." I think the psychologist would just say with all thy personality. And when you do that, you’ve got the breadth of life.
And when you get all three of these together, you can walk and never get weary. You can look up and see the morning stars singing together, and the sons of God shouting for joy. When you get all of these working together in your very life, judgement will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
When you get all the three of these together, the lamb will lie down with the lion.
When you get all three of these together, you look up and every valley will be exalted, and every hill and mountain will be made low; the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh will see it together.
When you get all three of these working together, you will do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
When you get all three of these together, you will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth" .
(Excerpts from Dr. King's speech: Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.
What about you? Do you know about Dr. King? What are your memories or observations? How do you celebrate MLK day? What about his speeches inspires you?