A Call to Brotherhood: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Wisdom For Today
"The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold."
What is this collective friction we are feeling? Why do we find ourselves caught in growing disharmony? We are hungry, no, starving! Starving for inspiring leadership that moves us forward, together. Each January, our nation celebrates the life and legacy of the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., arguably the most peace-loving man in American history. Dr. King, above all else, honored God through his actions and by his leadership, while audaciously pursuing justice for all. His eloquent wisdom has a renewed relevance concerning our current state of affairs.
Though Dr. King’s cause was righteous, passionate, audacious, and compelling, he exercised incredible discipline and restraint in his speech and in his deeds. He preached and modeled peace, demonstrated grace and patience, and believed in the power of brotherhood.
For those hungry, yearning for deep insights about the issues of today, feast on the ever-relevant, soul-stirring words of Dr. King.
"We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Given recent volatile political events in our country (and over the past year), it is eerie to recall images from 1963, when thousands of people of all backgrounds also gathered in our nation’s capitol in what was a stark contrast to the protests of today. The difference is chilling. Dr. King’s recognizable words from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, coupled with the images of fellow Americans gathered in peace for a better tomorrow, remind us that, even today, we are still craving a hope for something better.
Despite setbacks posed today, Dr. King gave us profound instructions for moving forward in progress, justice, healing, and reconciliation.
“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
It is this peaceful vision and leadership — so effective at that time — that again could encourage us to lock arms in unison to make change, together, now. This is the example we are inspired to set for our children. Dr. King’s wisdom holds ever true today.
“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
While some continue to point fingers and tear each other down with insults and accusations, let us, as Christians, assume the posture of brotherhood. Even in disagreement on the issues or solutions, let us assume the best of intentions in each other. Let our actions demonstrate an authentic commitment to understanding and empathizing with others.
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
No doubt, our souls still desire the same things that our brothers and sisters hoped for in the civil rights movement — and have longed for since the beginning of humanity: understanding, peace, and justice for all. Let us feed these insatiable soul-cravings with the nourishment designed for us by God as the body of Christ.
“This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom.”
By God’s design, we are built to need each other. Dr. King spoke often of “the solid rock of brotherhood,” acknowledging that without God and each other as a diverse body of Christ, we are doomed. He pointed out that our destinies and freedoms are inextricably bound together.
“We cannot walk alone.”
What can we as parents, educators, and influencers do? Be intentional to develop authentic relationships, do life together, and choose to live in brother/sisterhood. Value those connections over the divisive chatter of this world. Choose to remain open-minded to listening and understanding the experiences of others. Consider the wisdom of Dr. King as it holds true today more than ever. Seek God, as he did, and trust in the hope and future that Jesus has laid out for us.
“I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.
I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.
I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.
I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up.
I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land.
‘And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.’
I still believe that We Shall overcome!”
By banding together, indeed, we shall overcome this as brothers and sisters in Christ.
ISAIAH 11:6 —
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
...and a little child will lead them.
Watch/listen to MLK “I have a dream...” speech:
Read the transcript of the “I have a dream…” speech:
Watch/listen to MLK Nobel Peace Prize acceptance:
Read the transcript of MLK Nobel Peace Prize acceptance:
As Chief Development Officer, Jennifer New is a part of the leadership team and has served MPCS for 14 years. In her community volunteer work, she serves on the Board of Trustees for the Kennesaw Dream Foundation/Kennesaw Teen Center and the Black History Bowl Committee.
We encourage you to watch our MLK Jr. Day morning devotion on "Brotherhood" with two of our fun-loving fifth-graders. Click here to view the video.
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