As much as I love my country I am convinced that it is not a dream of a better America that is the hope of America. On this nationally recognized birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I pause, reflect, and thank God for saints in my own national history but also around the world whose great hope and dreams transcended the society in which they lived. Dr. King’s “dream” was never just for a better America. It was a dream of how earth could be more like heaven, at least in his own country. It was a God-size dream. But his dream was so practical, so profoundly simple, that while it transcended a government’s legislative policy, it was a dream through which the Kingdom of God could break into nation’s conscience and shape its morality.
Dr. King’s dreams were not just for a country, but for the Church to live into its identity and role as the Body of Christ upon the earth. Below is a quote that I only came across this year. I offer it as a convicting word for all of us who call ourselves by the name Christian.
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travellers at midnight.”
Strength to Love, 1963, p.47