Posted by: morgan1965 | January 17, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Lives On

When my brother and sister graduated from Morgan State College in 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the commencement speaker. At that time, he was giving strong and significant leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. As a youth, I was intrigued by Martin Luther King’s notoriety. As I grew older, and entered into college and theological seminary, I became more aware of his civil rights leadership, his moral leadership and his theological leadership.

As I observed King’s actions and his words, I realized that he was standing on “Christ, the Solid Rock.” It is appropriate to explore briefly his journey to the Rock.

This weekend, beginning with Friday, January 15th we are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was born on January 15, 1929. This would be his 87th birthday; so, we celebrate his birthday and give thanks to God for giving the world the gift of a prophet who became somewhat of a legend in his own time.

It is informative to note that family, religious, and educational experiences were decisive in the shaping of Martin Luther King’s destiny. King was reared in a Christian home in which there were few signs of poverty. King’s father and grandfather were Baptist ministers, and their teaching and example influenced King as he grew up. The King children were immersed in regular Sunday school attendance. The King family was deeply rooted in Christian soil, thus, providing a solid Christian foundation for the King and his siblings.

The King children were taught to embody love and respect for their parents and their elders. They learned such Protestant virtues as hard work, honesty, thrift, order and courtesy. It was important to be well educated in things religious and secular. These virtues paved the road to competence and culture.

Martin Luther King, Jr. stood firmly in the Christian tradition. He did not close his mind to other traditions, but learned from Mahatma Gandhi, as well as a variety of philosophers and theologians. Jesus Christ, and his doctrine of love, was at the center of King’s life and ministry. He came to know Jesus as a friend to whom he could go in the midst of any trials and tribulations. King had an active prayer life and this prayer life enabled him to grow in his relationship with God. His prayer life guided him through the storms of life.

Martin Luther King, Jr. became somewhat of a legend in his own lifetime and he died the death of a martyr. King, however, in his teaching and example, continues to have a powerful influence on our life and time today.

On this birthday observance, we celebrate with thanksgiving God’s gift of a prophet. This prophet gifted us with his life. During his lifetime he taught us how to employ love as a regulating ideal in the civil rights movement. He taught us to respect ourselves and our neighbors. He taught us to envision a world of equality – racial, social, and economic. The Dream lives on and cannot be allowed to die.

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