Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, right? So I'm asking myself today, "What would he say about our world if he were here?" Would he call us to contentment and satisfaction at how far we have come, or would he continue to challenge and push us until the dream of peace and justice and reconciliation that he so powerfully announced was realized around the globe?
How is this picture, taken recently in Kenya, different from the pictures of police just a few decades ago, responding to marches and protests led by Rev. King? Different uniform. Different straw that broke the camel's back. But the underlying causes are pretty much the same, aren't they? Injustice - oppression - intolerance - hatred. The powerful wielding their power without any thought or concern for the powerless.
"I have a dream..." is too fluffy for me today. Instead, let's go with this:
So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. (King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)
May we be extremists for love on behalf of Christ in this bruised and broken world.