Over the years, I have heard stories about how Martin Luther King, Jr. never set out to lead a movement in American history. Initially, he never saw himself as anything other than a Baptist preacher, minister of the gospel, and pastor of a local church following his father’s footsteps.

As an educated Black man, intelligent and charismatic with a trained and gifted spouse, he could have easily lived a relatively “safe” and comfortable middle class life, even in the early 60’s.

But King was compelled by faith and his understanding of God’s vision of a Beloved Community in which, “poverty, hunger and homelessness [would] not be tolerated…all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice would be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community international disputes would be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust would triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice would prevail.” [1]

King stressed nonviolence and the role of unconditional love. He yearned for an integrated society that was about more than racial equality but included all matters of justice for all people. In his mind, such a community would be the ideal corporate expression of the Christian faith.

On Monday, the nation will observe what would have been Dr. King’s 90th birthday. Some things have changed but there is still much more work to be done. We are left to consider how our own faith compels us to make King’s vision and God’s vision for the world a reality.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Cathy