The Courage of Martin Luther King

Today we reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King. His life meant many things to many people. To me, he epitomized individual strength, self-realization, manifest destiny and ultimate courage.

Think about him today in the context of your own life. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were the only person in a group…a large group of people acting wrongly? I think most of us have at one time or another and so we understand the amount of individual strength required to challenge the group. The self-realization, manifest destiny and ultimate courage come into play when you know who you are, why you are here and that you have no choice. King knew he was dead quite some time before the shot was fired.

Also, as we reflect on this great man today, we might ask ourselves why it is that the closer a man stands to the truth, the more at risk he becomes. And if he dares to commit himself to the greatest social and collective truth, he has all but signed his own death warrant! Think about this in the context of our society today. Can you see anyone who is putting themselves out on a limb in such a way? If so, thank God for them and then pray for them. Because the more “group think” and collective we become, the greater their danger and peril.

I fear that most of us today just seem to struggle through our days accepting the “truths” handed down to us like grain fed to cattle. As long as we have our “comforts”, we will just live and let live. And oh, how we get annoyed with those who disturb our comfort zone by throwing a little “snow” across or tranquil TV screen (Hey, the Grammy’s are coming up!!!) That damn Beck!

The other aspect of this that fascinates me is how the message tends to filter down through time. One can appreciate a little variation in the message of a prophet who lived two thousand years ago, but to distort the message of a sage handed down only a half century ago is a bit more vexing. How did we go from content of character to all about color in just 50 short years, hmm?

So on this day, whether you are a Freshman Congressman or Congresswoman or just someone who holds certain beliefs in your heart that may seem unacceptable to or unpopular with “The Group”…Now would be a good time to invoke the loving, compassionate and courageous spirit of the man deep into your heart.

About Chip Murray

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