By Bishop Robert Brown
This week, many of us paused to reflect on the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. On the anniversary of what would have been his 92nd birthday, the lessons he left behind are more important than ever. His message of peace, of coming together, of treating our fellow humans with equal respect, has faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles in recent times. Had he not been taken from us, and in spite of our current societal upheaval, he would not have been deterred from that message and mission.
Neither should we.
There is an enormous dichotomy today between what Dr. King preached and practiced and what we are currently living in our communities, in our country, and in the world at large. The horrors we have seen just in recent days, perpetrated by our fellow Americans, beggar the imagination. The time is upon us – indeed, the time is always upon us – to acknowledge that, as Dr. King said, “we are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today . . . this is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
Positive action. In stark contrast to the injustices committed by law enforcement in Minneapolis last summer, to what we witnessed in Washington, D.C. on January 6, to the many abuses perpetrated throughout our history, Dr. King’s message was one of positive peaceful forward movement. Even in the face of mistreatment, violence, humiliation, and degradation, his movement was always about peace.
How shall we, in these days of uncertainty and fear, recommit ourselves to Dr. King’s legacy of peaceful coexistence? It starts with each one of us. We must stand up to cruelty. We must speak out against injustice. We must ask ourselves – “have we been complacent for too long?” We must ask ourselves – have we “become silent about things that matter?” Perhaps these words of Dr. King’s can help to guide us as we move forward in what seems like the relentless pursuit of healing: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality . . . I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Bishop Robert G. Brown is the Presiding Prelate of Covenant Christian Church Alliance, Inc., and Senior Pastor of Zion Church Ministries, Inc, Everett.