Every Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Americans all over this nation pause and reflect on the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The subjects of equality and justice are on our minds as we rehearse the message and mission of this great American. It is this noble charge that we as Americans, regardless of our color, have been given for our fellow Americans, regardless of color.
Let us be careful, however, to not fall short of the aim of such noble virtues as equality and justice. Dr. King’s dream wasn’t merely that equal access to America’s storehouse of opportunities be opened up to all its citizens. No indeed. Such equal access was (and is) representative of something much more profound and beautiful… that equality is only truly meaningful when it underscores God’s aim for unity and brotherhood for all His people.
On August 28, 1963, Dr. King spoke words that still hold enormous power for us, “I have a dream that one day… the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…. I have a dream that one day… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”
“…As sisters and brothers.” And such does God intend.
Sadly, human nature generally runs contrary to the designs of its creator as self-will sets itself against the divine. Even in the church, when we forget who we are as brothers and sisters of the household of God, and we begin to war with one another (whether over racial differences or even over the splitting-of-hairs so celebrated by many of us), we have chosen a way that is set against the way of God. Frankly, this is an area in which Christians in America are famished for renewal for in 1 John 2:9 it is written that, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”
But it is good to know that, in the face of a world that likes to war with itself, the purposes of God remain and His provision refuses to be depleted. If we will surrender our prejudices and pride to Him, He will make a way for our fellowship with Him to be infinitely sweetened and deepened by the unfettered fellowship that we can have with one another.
See, God has a dream, too. His dream is that His people would “love one another. As He has loved us, so we must love one another. By this all men will know that we are His disciples, if we love one another” (from John 13:34-35). I have no doubt that this is why Jesus prayed in His last great intercessory prayer before His crucifixion, “… I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one: I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me” (John 17:20-23).
Although there is so much that is not right with the world, let us not turn our backs on the pursuit of equality and justice, especially when God’s aim continues to be unity among His people. Let us not forsake the high and holy calling of brotherhood with others who are His children, whatever their skin color, gender or nationality. May “the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, since as members of one body we were called to peace” (from Colossians 3:15) for we know that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28).
May the spirit of fellowship and unity that His Spirit washes upon us, open your heart and mind to the joy of true brotherhood that Christ brings to His people.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 23 ½ years, is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).