On this date in history: On January 15, 1929 Michael Luther King, Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Michael L. King, Sr and Alberta Williams King. King, the elder following in the footsteps of his father, was the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. I have read numerous sources that have all sorts of claims as to how his name was changed and why. But apparently when he was young, both father and son changed their names and it doesn’t really matter how and why. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at age 35. But, even that doesn’t really live up to the billing of the man. Dr. King has now been dead longer than he was alive. On this date in history, he was taken from the world, but he lives in the words and ideals that he set forth.
The text of the famous “I have a Dream” speech is sometimes quoted but probably never fully read. While many have tried to live up to those ideals, more often than not collectively and individually we often have fallen short. It should be noted that 42 years to the day after that terrible day in Memphis, Tennessee Christians around the world mark the day of the rising of the man about whom Dr. King preached. The ideals of Jesus of Nazareth are something that believers and non-believers alike strive to acheive. Both King and Jesus spoke of love of fellow man, humility and sacrificing of oneself to the service of others. The night before Dr. King was killed, he made a speech in which he said in what is known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, he said, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” It is so eery because he was dead less than 24 hours later.
It is said that, toward the end of the Civil war, Abraham Lincoln dreamed of his own death. He saw a funeral at the White House and he asked who had died and was told, “the President” and in the coffin he saw himself. Jesus of Nazareth knew his death was imminent but faced it anyway. King’s words echoed the tale of Moses who did not reach the promised land with the people whom he led for 40 years through the wilderness. Lincoln did not live to see the world after his leadership through the Civil War. King did not live to see the world after his leadership through the Civil Rights movement. Yet, all are remembered and their legacy lives with them. Jesus of Nazareth is called on today among the living, not as a legacy. Historians Dennis Sherman and Joyce Salisbury say that “the most influential religious transformation in the ancient West came with the life of Jesus.” He lived 2000 years ago and only preached about 3 years, yet his influence shaped the world.
If you study the historiography of Abraham Lincoln you will find that the “father Abraham” we know really only existed for the last 9 years of his life. We know of the resolute, wise man whose words resonate in American history and not the one whose words brought women to tears and men to challenge him to a duel on at least two occasions. We know of Martin Luther King, Jr from his 1955 Montgomery Bus boycott to the last public words uttered just before his death just 13 years later. Keep your dreams alive. Don’t despair and give up hope. None of these men gave up and each perservered in difficult circumstance. None chose the easy path. All three promised greater things to come. While it is disputed by many, I believe that there is evidence to support that in his later years, Lincoln tried to follow the lead of Jesus. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly tried to do the same. Perhaps if everyone truly made a consistent attempt to follow suit and recognize the even the shortest amount of time in our life can produce remarkable change and inspiration, then maybe the ideals of Dr. King may no longer be just a dream.
Weather Bottom Line: Hope you enjoy the great Easter weather. Cool start warm afternoon. As mentioned yesterday…front comes back as a warm front so we’ll push back to the upper 70’s on Monday but rain is likely and t’storms possible on Monday. Tuesday looks warm with sun and highs in the mid 80’s. Then comes Wednesday. Nothing really jumps out at me right now regarding some mischief but it’s worth looking at and we’ll take a closer look on Monday and Tuesday.