The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday always brings back special memories from our home schooling years. One January, we began committing to memory a portion of the King “I Have a Dream” speech. Day after day, we’d sit together and recite his words. Here’s some of what my children memorized:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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 a dream today.
My great-great Grandfather owned a plantation in the Piedmont of South Carolina, so I am a descendent of a former slave owner. As I’ve sometimes gathered with our African American friends in worship, in my head, I hear my children’s voices, “…sons of former slaves…sons of former slave owners…sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
Though we have not realized all that Dr. King envisioned, I give thanks that many things have changed because of his contributions.
This afternoon, we’ll gather with our brothers and sisters in worship at an MLK celebration where my husband is one of the speakers. I’m sure once more, I’ll hear in my head the wisdom of Dr. King spoken in my children’s voices and pray that they would be sure to school any children they might have in these words.
But I’ll also remember these lines from the song of a Jewish King, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1), and these words spoken by the King of Kings, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Join me in praying that in all ways love might be the determining factor in how we relate to each other, and that Dr. King’s dream might become reality.