January 19, 2015

No Better Time Than Now: An MLK Day Reflection

This is a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching at the Washington National Cathedral in 1968. It would be his last sermon. If you listen to or read the sermon, you'll find that King's words remain incredibly relevant today. This says two things to me. First, it is a compliment to King's amazing intellect. But it is also shameful that the struggle for justice and peace has not achieved all it has yet to achieve.

What continues to stand out to me from this sermon is one line:

"... time is neutral. It can be used wither constructively or destructively."

King goes on to say: "Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right."

He concludes: "Thank God for John, who centuries ago out on a lonely, obscure island called Patmos caught vision of a new Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, who heard a voice saying, "Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away."

God grant that we will be participants in this newness and this magnificent development. If we will but do it, we will bring about a new day of justice and brotherhood and peace. And that day the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy."


I'm reminded how often I procrastinate, waiting for the illusive perfect moment or opportunity to participate. I'm reminded that there is no better time than now. I'm reminded that we are seeking out what God is already up to in this world. Am I willing to lean into that? To contribute to the hard work it requires?

If we memorialize this day simply by this: by taking the time to reflect on how we are contributing to the creation of the beloved community that King envisioned, well, that would be worthwhile.