Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This Sunday we will be celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. We’ll be learning about his life and about his work to improve the lives of those who faced hatred and fear. God wants us to love each other and God loves all people equally. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. But some people judge others by the way they talk, or where they were born, or the way they look: the color of their skin, the shape of their nose or their eyes.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in his grandparents house in Atlanta Georgia. His grandfather and his father were ministers. His grandmother told her grandchildren many Bible stories, and his mother was the church organist. When Martin was growing up, schools were segregated: black children went to one school and white children went to another. Black and white children couldn’t play together or be friends. Black people were not allowed to go to restaurants that white people went to; they had to sit in the back of public buses, and drink from different water fountains labeled: colored only. They were not always allowed to vote, or to work at certain jobs. Martin and all Black people were angry, but Martin’s family told him not to hate people – it was his duty to love everyone. That’s hard to do when you see friends get hurt just because they are Black.
Martin Luther King Jr. grew up, studied hard, and became a minister. He was a powerful speaker; he used his words to share God’s love and to speak out against segregation: against those who showed hatred. King became a leader; he spoke in churches and in public. He organized and marched with hundreds of others to protest the way his people were treated. People travelled from around the country to join them: to march, sing and protest. Martin Luther King and his followers were opposed to violence. Some protesters were hurt and put in jail, but they never fought, and they didn’t give up. They knew that speaking out and working together would help them, but violence would not. Slowly, things began to change. Laws were changed, and the lives of black people began to improve.
Martin Luther King had a dream. He dreamed of a day when people would no longer be judged by what they looked like, or where they were from. They would be judged by what they said and did, and the way they treated others. They would be respected because they respected others.
What are your dreams for the world? How would you make the world a little better?
Perhaps you can decorate this page, and write down some of your dreams, as you are listening to the service on Sunday. You might want to watch The Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President or listen to this song, which protesters sang as they marched: We Shall Overcome. May the week ahead give each of us many chances to share our love with others.
~ Peg Koller