Monday

I Have A Dream

Last year, I was teaching the book of John to our church's ladies class on Tuesdays. When I encountered John 8:31, 32 about "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free", I looked up Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech since it finishes with the famous, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sadly, that is probably the first time I have ever read that speech and it is beautiful. It made me realize what a godly vision Dr. King had for this country. The last paragraph is right in line with Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

While we are still quite a mess in our country, we are certainly further along the road of healing than we were on August 28, 1963, when Dr. King made this speech: (this is only the last 1/3):

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all
men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia
the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit
down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the
state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a
dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be
judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have
a dream today.


I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose
governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and
nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls
and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream
that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be
made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be
made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall
see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the
South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a
stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling
discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith
we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go
to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free
one day.


This will be the day when all of God's children will be able
to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of
thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every
mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this
must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New
Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom
ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the
snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of
California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every
hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom
ring.


When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every
village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to
speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and
Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the
words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God
Almighty, we are free at last!"

1 comment:

Roxanne said...

THis speech always makes me weepy--one of our AP's read it last Friday while I sat in my very DIVERSE class of 6th graders. They do not know the world in which Dr. King lived or in which he made that speech--and let's hope that none of us ever forget it.

 
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