Today is the day our country remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life, his accomplishments, and what he strived for but wasn’t allowed to live to see come to fruition. It’s an opportunity to examine our country, our states, and also our own pasts relative to how we’ve acted to make things better or worse for all people.
I ran across a particular quote made by Dr. King this morning that sort of grabbed me because of some discussions we’ve had at my church over the past however long my memory is reliable. He said:
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
This made me think of Jesus being asked what was the greatest commandment. He responded that we should first love God and then our neighbor. That’s not such a hard thing to do on Sunday morning when I’m surrounded by like-minded folks. But, what about when I’m surrounded by folks with nothing perceptible in common with me? It’s not always so easy.
My priest, Chuck, broke it down for me one Sunday morning in such a way that he may as well have donkey kicked me in the sternum. One of the readings that morning talked about everyone being created in the image of God. Then, he drew the correlation to someone we had little personal regard for and said that no matter what we thought of them, they had God in them. Therefore, by not loving or by hating them, we were, in essence, doing the same to God. So, if we’re all created in God’s image, we’re all deserving of love, and we’re all created equal.
(Created equal… It seems like I’ve run across that somewhere else. Where’ve I heard that before? Oh, well. It’ll come to me.)
It’s easy to fall into hate toward someone with an opinion different from mine and, for some of us, toward people who look different from ourselves. Love for everybody takes restraint and practice. It’s definitely an ideal I fall short of daily and will focus on improving.
So, here’s to an improved 2018 with a common goal to choose love and throw off the burden of hate.
Amen, and pass the gravy!