Monday, January 16, 2012

At the Table of Brotherhood

In our home schooling days, one year for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we began committing to memory the King “I Have a Dream” speech. Here is a portion 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 gathered with our African American friends in worship through the years, in my head I’d often 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, much has changed because of his enduring work. For that, I give thanks.

And for what is still left undone, I pray the Apostle Paul’s words from Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

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