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Dallas Theological Seminary Martin Luther King Chapel Speech

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

"Welcome to the Dallas Theological Seminary Martin Luther King Day Chapel.

Today we set aside some to reflect this honorable occasion to celebrate our nations’ Dreamer. Dr. Martin Luther King, a leader in the Black community who was first and foremost a Son of the King. He was a husband a father. He made a lasting impact in the Kingdom of Heaven as a cornerstone theologian for his generation. Best of all, he was a man who led the masses to walk in step, arm in arm, on one accord to take a literal and figurative stand against racial inequality under the law.

Now I want to preface this morning’s presentation with a word from scripture and little something for you to chew on and absorb as you watch:

Exodus 2:11 “In the course of time Moses grew up. Then he went to see his own people and watched them suffering under forced labor. He saw a Hebrew, one of his own people, being beaten by an Egyptian.”

Now we all know what happened next. Moses committed Murder because he was aroused against injustice. He, at the time, a godless man, a privileged man, and a Prince of Egypt became aroused against the injustice toward another human being, proving that the right to human dignity surpassed class, religion, the color of your skin, and gender.

Now Dr. King was a man of God, a Christian theologian who campaigned for equal treatment under American law for ALL human beings. He was aroused by the unjust treatment towards his own people and lead a campaign that surpassed himself, extending beyond his religious tradition and his own time and far into generations that would experience their own plight against systematic racism, oppression, and church hypocrisy. Sadly, this is indeed the fight of our generation today.

But Dr. King’s legacy is a spiritual arsenal to combat hate, chaos, confusion, and despair. And make no mistake, there was no uncertainty regarding his enemy. He understood clearly what he was up against. A lion, if you will, with the jaws of hypocrisy and hatred clamped down into the very fabric of our nation’s establishment.

Dr. King, a man ahead of his own time, knew that it was not the time, nor was it his calling to rebel against or destroy the lion. But now was the time to take a cue from the arch-Angel Michael, and in the breath of “May God rebuke you”, Martin said, “I love you. Take my hand. Stand with me against injustice. I’d rather have you with me, but if not, it’s ok. You will not stop my advance toward justice.”

His message was simple; under the theme of Love and Light, a few of his quotes were:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

Now that last quote may make some of you uncomfortable. And that’s ok. Allow the members of your body to carry that burden for you. Let us stand with you as you process your thoughts toward understanding our burden -- our generational trauma. We were indeed created for such a time as this:

Galatians 6:1-6 says, “Brothers and sisters if someone is overtaken in a fault, you who live by the Spirit, should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

So let us all take courage in that alone. For in our burden and fault, we, as God’s little children, get to live in the very words of scripture.

This is not an indictment against anyone. So, don’t feel guilty about the sins of past generations. Instead, acknowledge the sin and the evolution of their hypocrisy. Stand with the members of your body and seek God concerning your gifts and talents on how to best serve the members of your body in carrying their burden.

What most of us want is Dr. King’s clarion call to the kingdom. We implore you to stand with us an ally, a brother and sister of the body of Christ and be aroused against the injustice and American church hypocrisy and understand that it is a fundamental reason as to why injustice against people of color has continued and evolved with each generation since the Civil War.

Again, the intention of today is not for us to bear the guilt of the past but for us to be aroused against hypocrisy and injustice -- To stand in agreement -- To fight the good fight of faith in carrying ye one another burdens -- To have conviction in your speech against social injustice and to have it laced with salt to ease the pain of and despair of the members of your body.

Dr. King understood the principle of God’s image. It is seen in all people regardless of station, color, culture, or gender. All people bear God’s image. Members of the body of Christ are a new creation of God’s image. For when God sees us, He sees His son. And when we see others, we bear witness His image. To witness injustice against an image-bearer is to witness an injustice against yourself.

I leave you with Martin Luther King’s resounding words about justice: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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