Great Lives - Martin Luther King Jr.

[Tammy's message has been adapted for this blog.]

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia and was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 39. Dr. King attended Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of 15. He was a man of character, an American Baptist Minister, an activist, a political philosopher, and a prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement; a movement for justice, equality and freedom for all people. In this time of hate on a culture of people, Dr. King was sent from God to lead the people toward a dream and vision of unification using non-violence.

Allow me to get personal. My father was born in Georgia in 1935 and my mother in Ohio in 1937. They lived through the Civil Rights Movement and knew the King Family. My father even attended the funeral of Dr. King. Today we remain in contact with Dr. King’s family through his first cousin, the Rev. Joel L. King Jr.

The works of Dr. King were so strong, that it led to one of many dreams of my father and mother to ensure that their children and grandchildren understood the importance of education, spirituality, and perseverance. They also taught that we are of great value, no matter the color of our skin, and to be watchful of the words we say and the words people give to us. Words do not devalue who we are, created by God.

In 1985, I was on my way to Ashland College, known today as Ashland University. During my senior year of high school, my counselor of another race said to me, “You do not need to go to Ashland College. That is not where you belong because of the color of your skin.” Education, spirituality, perseverance. I went to Ashland College, graduated with honors, and later pursued two master’s degrees: one in Education and Counseling and the other in Early Childhood Education. In this experience, two things came to mind: my dream and my light.

Let's talk about Dr. King’s dream. In August of 1963, Dr. King gave the “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In his speech he says, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have dream today!"

His dream was for all of us to live equal, to be free from unjust behavior, to have peace, and to be free to speak, to go to the same bathroom, to eat at the same lunch table, and to ride the same bus, all without hinderance and restraints. To not be judged by skin color, but by character. What is your dream, and what is your character? The dream has to be connected by the heart, mind, body, and soul. Determine your dream: your thoughts, goals, images, visions. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it."

Dr, King's quotes were about, justice, love, leadership, service, character, life, hope, struggle for change, equality, and freedom. Quotes like, "Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that," and "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” How is your light shining?

Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” What do people see within you? Do people see love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)? Do they see your dream and your light?

If Dr. King was here today, what would he say about Madison Christian School? I imagine he would say:

  • They have the strength of faith.
  • They have character.
  • They have leadership
  • They have critical thinkers.
  • They teach to search the scriptures, to evaluate issues of life from biblical principles and perspective.
  • They follow core values: prayer, love, unity, God's word, family-centered, evangelism and discipleship, excellence, service, and identifying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • They strive for high academic standards with God's Word of Truth in an atmosphere of love.
  • They have maintained a strong and powerful legacy.
Madison Christian School has dreams and maintains the light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today is a celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but please never forget the legacy of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Dr. King took the bullet in 1968, but over 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ took the cross. Dr. King’s body remains in the grave, but Jesus Christ rose from the grave for each one of us so that we shall overcome.

“We shall overcome, we shall overcome
We shall overcome someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall overcome someday.”
-“We Shall Overcome”

Madison Christian School, continue the challenge:

  1. Identify your dream
  2. Identify the light you shine
  3. Identify your love for yourself and others

Watch great things happen as you build unification. We shall overcome, deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome someday because mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.