“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. [God] will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 21: 1-6a)
Much like John the Revelator in the scripture, Dr. King re-imagined a different nation and a brand new world. During his time, many said everything that Dr. King proposed was outside of the realm of feasibility and likelihood. He stood then in the midst of what is still pandemic today — racism, militarism, materialism, sexism, classism and all the ‘isms’ that have sadly grown exponentially. His radical imagination envisioned possibilities beyond the limited reality. I believe Dr. King would tell us today to see John’s revelation in us…to trust the length, the breadth, the height of God’s love to be big enough to help us renew, recreate and RE-IMAGINE what is possible. The question is, do we have the courage to do the same? Can we really see economic justice, jobs, and just wages become reality? Can we really see the total eradication of poverty, hunger and disease? Can we really see a world that is truly environmentally sustainable with access to clean water and enough food for all people? Can we see universal healthcare and education become a reality right now? Can we see the commodification of female bodies and human trafficking end for good? And can we truly see justice for all people, no matter gender, ethnicity, orientation, economic status or ability NOW? Do we have the courage to really live out the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? We cannot and will not without transformation — a change in our thinking, in our believing, and a change in our actions. We must lift the altitude of our thinking so that our attitudes will adjust! If we are to be authentic ambassadors for Christ then our thinking must change. Our believing must adjust to what IS possible, not just as an eschatological hope for what is to come, but an existential reality of what needs to be right now!
This is a time when historical echoes of the righteous should meet the heavenly mandate of the right now — the sacred imperative of seeing the face of God in the face of others. My prayer is that no longer on the day that most of the nation sets aside to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King will we simply be pricked by the prolific rhetoric we hear in Dr. King's speeches or remain awed by his words and sermons. May we consecrate the day and hear those speeches and sermons as a prophetic call to honor the legacy of all who lost their lives in the struggle for justice, freedom and liberation. May God ignite the consciousness of humanity and set a holy fire under our feet! As we cannot afford to remain silent — for if we do, the sin of complacency, complicit ignorance, injustice and evil is perpetuated, and the work of truth and love can never be promoted. We must commit to declare the good news of Jesus Christ, the kin-dom of God, with the hope and courage to re-imagine what is possible and what must be available to ALL.