My dear brethren,
This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. The words contained in this great speech energized a race of people, and indeed a whole nation, with the conviction that the American dream of liberty and justice for all was attainable. The mighty words of that speech pricked the American conscience with the notion that liberty and justice must be extended to all Americans regardless of race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs, in order for our nation to be truly the land of the free.
Reading the transcript of that famous speech 50 years later, as I have just done, is still an emotional experience. Dr. King’s majestic words still cause one to search his soul over errors of the past while at the same time dreaming of a future where all people live together in peace. Then reality sets in, for here we are 50 years later more divided than ever, beset by problems on every side. Though we have our first black president, the racial divide continues.
Amidst a host of problems the dream seems to be fading fast. The list of complex problems with no viable solutions is truly daunting and discouraging. The land of the free struggles under the burden of poor health, huge debts (both public and private), a failing and unaffordable educational system, and way too few good jobs. The future looks bleaker by the day especially for our young, whether black, white, or Hispanic. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but it sure is.
Any great speech has its limitations. The words of Jefferson, Lincoln, Churchill, and Dr. King can be inspiring, reflective, or alarming. The words of any one person must move us for more than the moment they are spoken. They must move us for a lifetime. If words are to guide us toward solving real life problems, they must be based upon the words of He who gave us life in the first place. Indeed why the words of Jefferson, Lincoln, and Dr. King still stir us in our inner most being is because they aligned those words with Scripture to make their point. But none went far enough to say we must obey God and put Him first in order to solve our problems. The real bonds that enslave us are spiritual in nature. To be really free at last requires God’s help and our acquiescence.
Arguably, the greatest speech ever uttered was at Mount Sinai when God gave mankind the Ten Commandments. It was Jesus Christ who spoke those words with such force the mountain shook. These words reverberate through the earth to this day but have yet to be taken to heart by mankind. Adherence to those words would put an end to war, sectarian violence, and religious conflict. Mankind would chart a new course toward real justice, equality, and harmony.
Obedience to God is humbling, and it requires an act of will.
It is true, slavery stands in the way of human progress. However, it is not the slavery you might first imagine. Human bondage is always tragic. There is a bondage all men share, regardless of race. We are all held prisoner to a world held captive by a tyrant who is cruel beyond imagining, a merciless tyrant whose influence we see and feel every day. The real oppressor we need to throw off is Satan. Isaiah 14:12-17 tells us that he is responsible for the distress of our nations, the decay of our cities, and the enmity, perversion, and hatred that ever pulls us down toward the depths. Submission to God’s will and His law breaks the yoke of bondage we all labor under. Romans 8:18-22 tells us that liberty does await mankind.
Soon we will enter the promised land of the Millennium. The promise is certain, the time is near. The time to put God first is now.
The fall holy days we are about to partake of picture the glorious time to come when all mankind will be free at last! Enjoy a foretaste this fall, and let the peace of Christ be yours as you celebrate in advance the day when the greatest speech ever delivered will live and reside in the hearts of all mankind.
In His name,