There is something very sad to me about Martin Luther King Day. It's not simply the fact that this day forces me to remember that my heritage lies in a faulted people who have endlessly abused their power and forced many beautiful, unique, people made in the image of a God that should unite us to endure hatred stemming from our self-righteous ethnocentrism and ignorance. I cannot help my heritage, however much it grieves me. I can only strive to fight ignorance and injustice in myself and those around me, working forward toward the heritage that I wish to leave and not living helplessly in the one from which I came. So ultimately, that is not what saddens me on this day. It's the fact that now, in a time when our culture is supposedly "enlightened" and "unified," we do not celebrate this day the way that we should.
This day should be a day to rival all holidays. This is the day to honor a man who went on to change the world. This is a day to remember what he stood for, and what happened because of him. This day proves that each of us, when we follow the path God has ordained for our lives, can make a difference. A difference that matters. A difference that can reach the corners of the earth in its impact. Yet many do not celebrate. Some justify their abstention saying that this man was flawed, and he was. All of us are. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." When all of us are imperfect, is imperfection any reason not to celebrate the good that can come from this world of bad?
A friend sent me this link to a blog that John Piper wrote about MLK Day. You can view it here. Also, you might want to take about 20 minutes and watch the entire "I Have a Dream" speech. Many of us have probably never seen the whole thing. You can watch that here.
Take a few minutes today and think about what you stand for. If you don't know what you stand for, think about the fact that the ability to not know what you stand for is a luxury in and of itself, when so many of the people in our broken world are born into a position where they grow up having to stand for something or else being stood upon. People say that ignorance is bliss. That may be true. But at what price does our bliss come? Who pays the price while we ignore the injustice in the world?
Ask God what your purpose is. Ask him to help you to fulfill that purpose. Know what you believe. Act on it. "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Happy Martin Luther King Day.