Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, we look back at a previous post from Dr. King.
It is popular today to be a fan of Dr. King. But neither Dr. King, nor Christ riding into Jerusalem in our reading today were interested in fans. They were interested in the fruit of action.
In Christ’s confrontation with the religious leaders, and the fickle crowd that would easily be swayed by them, he announced that failing to recognize the kingdom’s responsibilities would result in the kingdom being taken away and given to others.
May we not stumble on this rejected cornerstone. May we build on it instead. With action.
Reflection: When the Dream becomes a Nightmare
By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
In 1963, on a sweltering August afternoon, we stood in Washington, D.C. and talked to the nation about many things. Toward the end of that afternoon, I tried to talk to the nation about a dream that I had had—and I must confess to you today that not long after talking about that dream I started seeing it turn into a nightmare.
I remember the first time I saw that dream turn into a nightmare, just a few weeks after I had talked about it. It was when four beautiful, unoffending, innocent Negro girls were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. I watched that dream turn into a nightmare as I moved through the ghettos of the nation and saw my black brothers and sisters perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, and saw the nation doing nothing to grapple with the Negroes’ problem of poverty.
I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched my black brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve that problem. I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched the war in Vietnam escalating, and as I saw so-called military advisors, sixteen thousand strong, turn into fighting soldiers until today over five hundred thousand American boys are fighting on Asian soil.
Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.…
I still have a dream today that one day every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill will be made low, the rough places will be made smooth and the crooked places straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. I still have a dream that with this faith we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism.
With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and good will toward men. It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.
Prayer: The Request for Presence
Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path. — Psalm 119.105
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.
Genesis 22 (Listen – 4:01)
Matthew 21 (Listen – 7:10)
Read more about Taking Advantage of the Desperate
As the church, we can be difference-makers, rebuilding the broken in our society. To do this, we must engage in economically nonsensical, entirely compassionate, community investment.
Read more about Decorating the Tombs of the Prophets
It is easy to look backward and to say “if I had been here I would have listened to Dr. King,”—even though I do not listen to what is happening around me in my own community, in my own neighborhood, in my own church. — Dr. Russell Moore