Thank You for your Dream
Monday, we celebrated Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and as I listened to the radio in my car, the host decided to play the most famous portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Many of us have heard these inspirational five minutes countless times, enough that it is as ingrained in our memory as the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem. But, listening to it this time, I appreciated a new perspective on the matter when I heard his famous words, “I have a dream that one day my children will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” While my children do not face the racial prejudice that Dr. King’s children faced, as a father, I connected to the deeply rooted truth in his words. We love our children, and we want them to be loved and accepted by all.
Of course, the reason this truth resonates with any parent is because our Heavenly Father, in making us in His own image, planted this truth in our hearts. As much love as we feel toward our children, God’s love towards each one of His children and His desire for all His children to love and accept each other are abundant beyond our human understanding. In this light, Dr. King’s beautiful dream is the dream of every Christian – that we might live in a world of loving unity with our fellow man.
I believe when we imagine this dream, we like to imagine the end result, with everyone finally looking past petty differences and embracing our shared humanity under the loving supervision of our Father in Heaven. Sadly, we all stumble somewhere along the difficult road of trying to reach this end, and it usually has to do with the hardness of our hearts in trying to embrace someone who surely couldn’t be our brother or sister created with every ounce of the same love and affection by our Father as ourselves. I could spend plenty of time pointing out our current failures in this regard, but if you’re interested in hearing about that, turn on any news station, open your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat app, or pick up a newspaper, and within minutes, you are sure to be inundated with the numerous instances in which we have fallen short of Dr. King’s vision.
Rather, I would like to focus on one instance of encouragement, when our collective consciences seemed to rise above the grind of daily living and toward a plane of love. The example that comes readily to mind is the support for the people of Houston after Hurricane Harvey. We saw images of people rallying together to deliver supplies, helping each other from the dangers of flooded streets and neighborhoods, and being vocal in petitioning for as much assistance for those in need as they could get. All-Pro NFL player J.J. Watt raised $37 million in relief, with notably large donations from billionaire businessmen and entertainers such as Drake. But beyond the amount he raised, Watt created a platform that displayed the richness of love in the hearts of so many.
This Sports Illustrated article lists many of those instances, such as a twelve-year-old and nine-year-old each giving $10 of their own money to their father to send for relief. Or a youth football team that raised over $500 dollars in three days to help the people of Houston. The latter of which was so overwhelming, the coach couldn’t help but compare the gesture to Mark 12:43-44, “Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
In the face of the many struggles our nation faces; I think it is important to remember how we responded in the face of this catastrophe. We have within us the capacity for such abundant love not just in times of disaster, but in our every day lives. We can shine it through how we treat people at work, we can share through our hobbies and passions, and we can nurture it at home with our families. Each day, we can make the choice to choose love instead of hate, and only by making that perpetual choice will we ever have the chance to fulfill Dr. King’s glorious dream. In the meantime, we can hope for that day when “every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places would be made plain, and the crooked places would be made straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope.”