Last week, I shared thoughts about climbing mountains and the importance of climbing together. Those thoughts were still fresh as I began to consider Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we celebrate this weekend. In a speech in Memphis, King mentioned the death threats he had received. He said he was not afraid to die: “We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will.” He was assassinated the next day.
King’s courageous and selfless leadership changed our nation – and yet, we still have so much work to do. Equality for all – a basic premise of our country’s founding – continues to be a struggle on multiple fronts: There are times it appears we have lost ground since we lost Dr. King.
As Dr. King’s brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our responsibility to continue to champion the causes for which he fought, the causes dear to the heart of every believer. We cannot look at the mountaintop and turn away because it seems too high. As we discussed last week, we must join forces and climb together. In our united desire for love, justice, and peace, we are mighty.
And we must teach others, those who are rooted to the ground in fear and ignorance, that they are capable of climbing. It may, in fact, be those we teach who complete the climb – which makes it all the more important for us to teach them, to lead them, and to encourage them to keep going, for the sake of humanity and in the name of the Lord.
“I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.’”Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968