I spent most of this past Monday, January 20th reading and listening to sermons and writings of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They weren’t unfamiliar, but I wanted to hear them again, reading with fresh eyes for new meaning. I also wanted to honor this incredible leader and his work while reflecting on its impact for 2020 and beyond. In some ways, we as a nation have come a long way, and yet there is so much more that needs to be done before realizing his dream of a beloved community where there is justice for all.
Among the many lines that struck me in a fresh way was: “I just want to do God’s will.” Simple, clear, old as can be, and something I aspire to most days. Still, I must admit that there are times when I very much just want to do Cathy’s will, not God’s will, even when I know better.
This line must have surely been a driving force for King and something he lived and died by. It was part of his final speech the day before he was shot down, when he spoke to a group of poor sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I just want to do God’s will.” A desire to do God’s will means that we spend time with God listening, discerning, questioning, and reflecting on what that will is. It means that we align our heart to God’s heart and trust that God’s way is the way, the best way, regardless of how things appear and who agrees or disagrees. It means that we understand that God’s will is for everybody’s good, not just our own personal interests, wants, and desires.
God’s will. This was among Jesus’ final words in the Garden of Gethsemane—“not my will but thine be done.” It is a prayer that we pray in worship almost every Sunday—“thy will be done.”
“I just want to do God’s will” is a good place to start, a good place to be centered, and a good place to end every circumstance, every decision.
Hate killed Dr. King’s body but could not kill his dream nor the message of love and hope because it is also God’s dream, God’s will for humankind. May it also be ours as well.
If you were not in worship last Sunday, click here to read Isaiah Fish’s sermon. I’m sure you will be as inspired as was and still am.
Grace and peace,