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Posts Tagged ‘MLK’

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR, sitting in the Jefferson County Jail, in Birmingham, Alabama, 11/3/67. Everett/CSU Archives.

Martin Luther King Day will have a variety of messages and themes across the globe, but above all else MLK Day must highlight the role of Christianity and Christians in society. In his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” King writes that there will be times for people to stand up to injustice and defend what is right.

As King endured eight days of imprisonment, he encouraged people to practice their faith even when there would be a cost for those unpopular actions. A faith that,

“was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. . . .”

These words still ring true today.

There are causes that demand more than words. There are struggles and fights that Christians must lead. There are many wrongs in our world where the church must be a vehicle for change. The church cannot be lax, it must be vigilant. The church must stand for truth no matter the price.

John the Baptist was arrested for sharing the law with King Herod Antipas. Simon Peter was jailed for being a bold messenger of Jesus Christ.  Paul and Silas were arrested for simply preaching the gospel.

Martin Luther King was arrested several times in his pursuit of establishing greater equality in America. Each time, he pointed back to Scripture as a reminder to pursue the cause of justice. In a time when laws forced segregation and inequality, people of faith had to remember the standard God established as they slowly pushed forward.

“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God.”

As the laws of our nation continue to change and religious freedom shrinks in the land that we love, let us view MLK Day as a reminder to serve God and be true to His commands. Let us remember that boldness is often required instead of compromise. Let us also demonstrate that churches can be a place where Christians stand up for what is right and just.

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At first glance, prison doesn’t seem like a good place for a Christian.  But Martin Luther King Day should be a reminder of what we find in Scripture.  Disciples, prophets, pastors, preachers, ministers, and missionaries are frequently arrested and thrown in jail.

John the Baptist was arrested for sharing the law with King Herod Antipas.  Simon Peter was jailed for being a bold messenger of Jesus Christ.  Paul and Silas were arrested for preaching the gospel.  Eventually, they wound up saving the guard and his household.  Today, we find missionaries and ministers being placed behind bars as they perform Kingdom work across the globe.

It’s important to realize that Christians are persecuted for their faith, their beliefs, and their actions.

Martin Luther King was arrested several times in his pursuit of establishing greater equality in America.  While in prison, he penned what is frequently called the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”.  His letter outlines a theological belief where slow progress should not be viewed as success, but people should instead be insistent about fixing injustice.  And he is also clear that while the church has at times been a vehicle for change, it has also been a slow or obstructing vehicle.

It was in this letter that he wrote that “In deep disappointment, I have wept over the laxity of the church.  But be assured that my tears have been tears of love.  There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.  Yes, I love the church; I love her sacred walls.  How could I do otherwise?  I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson, and the great grandson of preachers.  Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ.  But oh! how we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and fear of being non-conformists.”

John 15:18 shares, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”  Being arrested, beaten, tormented, and paraded through a kangaroo court was also part of Christ’s ministry on earth.  Prophets, priests, and pastors will continue to be imprisoned for the cause of Christ because He went to the cross for us.  It is important for us to be faithful and responsive to the call of God above governments, regimes, despots, and dictators.

Let us view MLK Day as a reminder to serve God and be true to His commands.  Let us remember that boldness is often required instead of compromise.  And let us demonstrate that churches can be a place where Christians stand up for what is right and just.

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