Remembering the King

Written by Anthony Douglas on 07 April 2018.

MLKThis last week marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, which has obviously been a significant moment for American society. Retrospectives and tributes have abounded.

But it was a line from an editorial that caught my eye:

“The simple fact is that by placing King on a pedestal and viewing his struggle as a closed chapter in history many Americans escape the harsh realities that both he and contemporary minority groups continue to endure.”

It makes a telling point, doesn’t it? By treating MLK as a tremendously important historical figure, he is both honoured and sequestered. The culture can feel satisfied about its enlightened appreciation of the good King achieved, while simultaneously avoiding any threat lingering from what he had to say.

Sounds like another King I know. Jesus was a pretty great teacher (except for a few things we disagree with him on, where clearly he was just trapped by his ignorant culture); we should respect what he achieved and hey, even build on his legacy. Let’s love one another and let everything else alone. That was what he was trying to say, right?

Thank God (literally!) Jesus can’t be marooned in the first century, but is alive today, and continues to speak to our world through his word and through the lips of his people. May he indeed be honoured, though without historical handcuffing - but may he also be heard loud and clear!

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