Guest post by Peter Worrall
Last Thursday, my husband Peter gave this brief address on the campus of Moody Bible Institute. It was a part of a program, honoring the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
As a foreigner, I am a latecomer to the appreciation for Martin Luther King, who is celebrated on this third Monday in January each year. I have been aware of the great man since I was a child. However, the far-reaching significance of all that Martin Luther King stands for has not hit me until I came to live in the United States.
I was a pastor of a black church in Bellwood for two years after graduating from Moody in 2000. I have a mixed-race family. My son is African-American Latino, and my daughter is Chinese. I have lived in Japan and Pakistan. In other countries I have been judged based on the colour of my skin rather than the content of my character. And I, too, long for a world where my children will be free from such judgement. Martin Luther King was a leader and spokesperson for a movement that had the bravery to stand in the face of contempt and offer non-violent resistance. When ugliness could have been met with ugliness, Martin Luther King crafted monumental words of beauty. When pent up frustration could have led to violence, Martin Luther King went for a walk. He marched with 200,000 all the way to the seat of government and asked people to listen to his dream.
Fortunately for all of us, the strength of the moral truth won out. Attitudes and laws were changed and continue to be. However, I am witness that there is much still to do.
When my son was the tender age of 5, I watched a large boy stand over him after my son blocked his shot in a park district soccer game. The other 5-year-old’s words were racially charged.
I saw members of my Bellwood congregation jailed and held under dubious circumstances.
I have seen that we still have a long way to go.
Martin Luther King said, “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values—that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.” To truly progress we must not lose our anchor in the ancient truths. If we progress and forget eternal truth, we become like ships losing their mooring, blown on the seas and subject to the volatile tides of whimsical change.
May we communicate in word and deed the ancient truth, the moral foundation, the sure anchor, that in Christ “there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
However, where there is unity in the body of Christ, there is also diversity. God has created one body with many parts. So, with equity and compassion each member of the body must work toward unity while celebrating diversity. This reflects the reality of the triune Creator who created mankind in his image. As image bearers let us be humble.
Let us honour Martin Luther King Jr. by remembering the dream for which he gave his life. Let his character point beyond himself to the greater Kingdom of God. Let us honour him by continuing the cause. May we bring God’s Kingdom—with a lack of prejudice and embodiment of justice—that reflects on earth as it is in Heaven.