Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From The Very. Rev. Bernard J. (BJ) Owens
I write to you in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., still filled with the spirit after yesterday morning’s service at Trinity when the words of Lift Every Voice and Sing filled the vaulted space of the Cathedral with a majesty all its own. I write this filled also with sadness at the impact that systemic racism has on all of us, at the vivid and viral reminders of how bigotry lives on in our country. I write this with hope, knowing that even in a time when words feel broken and the common threads of our lives feel strained, God can still bring forth a word that can transform our hearts and our nation.
Is it still possible, in our day and age, to bring a Word that can speak to us across the lines that divide us and call us to be who God created us to be? Dr. King reminds us, whenever we encounter his work, that there is indeed a Word that is powerful, challenging, disruptive, and liberating. Though the sin of racism continues to tarnish the image of God in each of us, our vocabulary for hope and transformation has grown through the years because of men and women who faithfully, and courageously, brought the Word into our national life through their words, actions and prayers.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to listen for that Word, to share it, to have our own lives disrupted by it and finally to respond to it. This is how we grow, this is how we name the sin in our lives and how we seek to be agents of healing and reconciliation in our communities. Our Christian faith teaches us that there is indeed a Word of justice and truth that we find where God’s imagination touches our own. When sin is rooted as deeply as it is, as must be said of racism in America, we know that we must approach it with more than good intentions: we need God, we need the Word, we need a vision of the Beloved Community that can only come from a place of holiness and grace.
The Very. Rev. Bernard J. (BJ) Owens