“I Have a Dream” (Luther) is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. During this speech he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.
Monday, we set aside a day to honor a man who charged the nation with a bold concept, equality and peace. Although horrid things had happened to him solely because of his color and cultural background he upheld a peaceful protest and smart and cutting speech. He understood that love and truth is the most powerful weapon against injustice. (Luther, 2963)
Today, as a white man, born after his speech and assassination, I reflect on the impact he had on me and culture. He wanted justice. I believe God has given us this innate sense of justice and right and wrong. How that is lived, we learn. I read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech and resonant with the promise. However, I don’t see that promise in the constitution. Don’t get me wrong, I am profoundly grateful for that constitution. But, central to my beliefs is the promise of an ideal place that provides perfect justice, equality, and perfection.
MLK Jr. often harkened to the ideals of the country’s forefathers and the promise they established. Hundreds of years earlier a Puritan, John Winthrop (2018) gave a charge to the colonists. He cited scripture in his message way back in 1630. Winthrop warned his fellow Puritans that their new community would be “as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us”. He meant that the eyes of the world are looking. Moreover, God is watching. It was implied that their sins and errors would be laid bare for everyone to see. “So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world” (2018, p 1 Note 1). This city set upon a hill came to prominence during the Cold War era which Martin Luther King Jr. lived and used multiple times throughout the following decades.
Winthrop, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many others understand that America is exceptional. I would contend that each person is exceptional; meaning, they are unique with a unique purpose. In fact, everything God has, has a perfect purpose. What is that?
A Christian school can and should be a city on a hill. It should be part of the promise of the country’s forefathers. After all, the only true justice can be found in Him, Jesus Christ. This side of heaven it is a constant pursuit requiring constant transformation. We look forward to that promise being fulfilled when Christ returns (Titus 2:13).
Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision for a just America is something that can resonate with all, whether in the Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Christian School, or anywhere else in the world. Let us work together to make a school that develops students who love God with all their minds, bodies, and souls. These future leaders will continue the work of ensuring justice for all that is embedding in the Truth through biblical thought and action.
Roders, Daniel (2018). As a City on a Hill: The Story of America’s Most Famous Lay Sermon, Princeton University Press, 2018;
King, Martin Luther Jr. (1963) I Have A Dream. National Archives. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf on January 9, 2020
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