I became an adult in the 1960s. I lived on the south side of Milwaukee where there was a shortage of Americans of the black race. It didn’t make any difference to me what color a person was. If we were born in America we were all Americans, but as I grew up I began to see the inhumanity possible by the white race against any person of a different color.
I didn’t understand why one race could be put into a constant state of humiliation. The bonds of slavery were still apparent. Blacks were required to sit on the back of the bus. They used rest rooms and water fountains designated for them. They were set apart in the employment lines. Why were we so blind to the ugliness we were perpetrating with this segregation?
In the sixties the movement for equality in so many areas of life was underway. There was the woman’s movement and the burning of bras to establish the fact that women would no longer be bound. There was a desire by young people to be heard. They grew their hair long and resisted authority. The drug culture began to grow, numbing the mind to help forget the mindless war in Viet Nam. Music indicated more than love and romance. Now it was about social issues and indignation. The pot of anger was stirring and hate was a predominant piece of our history.
Out of that time came Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was rebellious himself as a young, college student. When in college, he often drank beer and associated with the wrong crowd. This changed as he grew closer to the Lord and began to see the hatred within his sad world. He eventually would become a champion for that very cause.
Yesterday our sermon had to do with the Lamb of God and His instruction to us to love one another. Today, for many, that seems such a pointless act. We see people continuing to think first of themselves and put their neighbor somewhere on the bottom wrung. Some feel that it’s more sensible to put numbero uno before anything or any one else. We’ve morphed into a society of self indulgent people and it isn’t limited to one race or another.
Love is an attribute which Dr. King preached about. He stood for non-violent demonstrations of protest, which often turned into riots of discontent. He eventually grew tired of the protests and marches, because he saw the futility of their efforts. When he was assassinated for his words – his desire to bring love back into our vocabularies – his zeal for equality – we lost one of the heroes of our time. His message was one of love; a message preached by our Lord and Savior, Jesus. If only we could think of ourselves as equals. We would then realize that God welcomes ALL believers into His kingdom no matter what color they are.
Maybe we should start thinking more about loving our neighbor as ourselves. Dr. King knew how powerful love is. It is a gift from God, who is in fact LOVE. He poured out His love on everyone over two thousand years ago.