Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I may have blogged this before here. I can't remember. But it doesn't matter. It bears repeating:

I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles, or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about 2200 feet below sea level. That's a dangerous road. In the day of Jesus it came to be known as the "Bloody Pass." And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?".

May we be willing to "reverse the question" whenever lovingkindness and compassion require us to do so.

And let us give thanks this day for the life and witness of our courageous brother, Martin. No, he wasn't perfect (as you'll discover if you examine the sites of many of his naysayers on the web). But to my mind, that makes him all the more inspirational. He was a human being with feet of clay like the rest of us. And, still, look what he accomplished! Let us go and do likewise in our own small ways.

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