When driving through small town America sometimes we keep on driving. The gas tank may be close to ‘e’ but we will keep on going and hope for a station with less suspicious looking characters if needs be. As we pull in we look around first before getting out of the car. Usually only one of us would get out if there were other people around. This reality shocked me during our first years of marriage. Visiting far away churches by car to raise funds for our new missionary venture meant driving through parts of the country still closed to the idea of a black man married to a white woman. A decade later now in the brand new year of 2011 I wonder if things have changed?
We are deeply indebted to the courageous work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who worked closely beside him. Were it not for the passion and resolve of this brother things would look very different for our nation. I wonder if we would have been able to celebrate openly with our loved ones on our wedding day. Or if 1996 would have been a year of continued segregation and painful racism.
I hold in my lap a book of famous speeches. Contained therein the complete discourse given by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial. Selecting a portion to transcribe is nigh unto impossible, for start to finish the words emblazon hope in my heart. The truth I needed to be reminded of today is thus:
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time…”
Now is the time to train my children to walk in the truth. Now is the time to take action against the destructive forces of injustice running rampant in the world. Now is the time to speak for those who have to voice. Now is the time to love like never before, give like never before and hope like never before. Now is the time.