King’s work should be appreciated
This is the third in a series of essays about Martin Luther King Jr. written by University staff members in celebration of his lifetime of accomplishments.
“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24
We are glad as we gather as one community of love in celebration of a dreamer, a person of great faith and determination and a courageous witness for justice.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor who preached, taught and combined the philosophy of non-violent direct action to resist the segregation, racism and poverty of his day.
Being called as a pastor of the church and his people, King understood God’s call and the purpose of his life.
King adopted the holistic ministry, which is not only about proclaiming love for God, but understanding the need for it and establishing a relationship.
As a pastor, he played the role of a good shepherd, literally.
In 1957, King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference — an organization formed to provide new leadership for the growing civil rights movement.
As Moses was called by God to deliver his people from Egypt, from their bondage and slavery, God called King to deliver his people from the same circumstances.
King took the ideals for the organization from Christianity and its operational techniques from Gandhi.
He came to realize that Gandhi was the first person in history to reinvent the Christian ethic of love as what King called “a potent instrument for social and collective transformation.”
King’s speech at the march on Washington in 1963, his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church and his final speech in Memphis are among his most famous utterances.
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” ranks among the most important documents in American history.
In “Paul’s Letter to American Christians,” King wrote, “your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth.
“Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God’s will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it.
“You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.”
Let us take within us the spirit of God.
The spirit of Dr. King was God in him! And the spirit of America is the foundation of God in people upon which God wants to build His dream. Amen.
The Rev. Vijay Gurrala is a campus minister at the A.D. Bruce Religion Center and may be reached at [email protected]