Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today in the United States we celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his prophetic voice and vision for justice and equality. Born January 15, 1929, Dr. King was shot and killed outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. One of his most powerful and oft-quoted speeches is the “I Have a Dream” speech that was delivered August 28, 1963, on the occasion of The March on Washington. Click here to watch it.
My question today is this one: What is your dream?
If someone asked you what your dream is for your faith community, your town, your nation, or this world, how would you answer? I have a dream…for what?
Today is a good time to revisit this question and to think our about our hopes and dreams. The root problems of injustice today are not that different from the problems of Dr. King’s time, or any moment in history for that matter. There have always been the haves and the have nots, the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, the acceptable and the unacceptable. The prophets have raged against these imbalances and inequities for thousands of years.
Dr. King’s words ring as true today as they did almost 50 years ago; they carry power and wisdom and weight. We continue to make some progress, and yet we continue to defer the dream of equality for all humankind.And sadly, we make all manner of excuses and equivocations for why the dream is still just that–a dream.
What then is your dream?
My dream is that all people will have enough. My dream is that we will treat this world with the care and consideration it deserves, that we will not squander our natural resources. My dream is that we will not take more for ourselves than we need, that we will share with others so that all may have enough. My dream is that our communities, particularly our faith communities, will places where all people are welcomed with open hearts and arms. My dream is that we will quit arguing and start working together, that we will lay partisan politics aside and seek justice for all, that we will become people who listen, people who respect each other, and people who will shoulder the burden together to make this world a better place. My dream is that we will act out of faith, and live out of love. I want us to choose love and life over hate and violence. I want us to see what we have in common rather than what is different. My dream is that we will have the wisdom, the courage, and the fortitude to transform our mutual dreams into hope-filled reality.
But see, here’s the thing about dreams: we have to do something about dreams to make them come true. We have to act on our dreams rather than simply throw our pennies into life’s wishful fountain. Turning dreams into reality is work–hard, blood-sweating, and sacrificial work. Dreamers sometimes even have to lay down their lives for the sake of the dream.
Am I willing to do my part to help make my dreams come true. I hope so. I pray that by the grace of God I am able to do so. I know that if I do at least one small thing each day, if I make my choices with the dream always in mind, and if I ask others to hold me accountable to my dream, then I will live into the dream. I will stumble and fall, and I will fail. But I will continue to dream, and I will continue to act on those dreams in good faith. I ask you to hold me accountable.
Now, what is your dream, my friend? What are you doing to move it closer to reality?
Dream catcher photo by Bruce McAdam. Thanks!