“The image of God is universally shared in equal portions by all humanity. There is no graded scale of essential worth. Every human being has etched in their personality the indelible stamp of the Creator. Every person must be respected because God loves them. The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial origin or his social position.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Where Do We Go From Here?”
Dear Members and Friends,
On Monday we pause as a nation to honor a great American prophet: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been over 60 years since Dr. King rose into the public consciousness as a leader of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. It has been almost 50 years since his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. He lead an amazing movement of non-violent protest and resistance to bring about significant changes in the treatment of African-Americans in this nation, and by extension one could argue, in the treatment of many minority groups ever since.
And yet racial tensions are running higher than at almost any time in the history of the United States. New movements of protest have risen up and many people are greatly concerned about past negative attitudes toward race relations and past negative statements about race relations expressed by many of the incoming leaders of the new administration, as well as attitudes towards immigrants, homosexuals, transgender persons, and women. The values which Dr. King promoted are greatly needed today as much as ever. So I want to share a quote from his Christmas Sermon on Peace broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1967, which lifts up positive values of community, of viewing all people equally, which I pray we can all remember in this new year and which God will help our leaders to remember and embrace in their work as well. Dr. King said:
Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools…. It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.
I cannot say it better. I cannot add anything. I pray we will not forget the truth expressed in these words.
R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida