Today, a monument was supposed to be dedicated in Washington, DC. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial dedication has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene’s progress up the East Coast.
A visit to the monument’s website gives quite a bit of information, including a vision statement. Here’s part of that statement:
Dr. King championed a movement that draws fully from the deep well of America’s potential for freedom, opportunity, and justice. His vision of America is captured in his message of hope and possibility for a future anchored in dignity, sensitivity, and mutual respect; a message that challenges each of us to recognize that America’s true strength lies in its diversity of talents.
Perhaps it is fitting that this dedication, in particular, should be delayed by a storm. Its message and the struggle behind it were born in storms of prejudice, violence, hatred and misunderstanding.
The date was selected because it is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. No one denies that we have made great gains in the areas of fairness and human dignity in those five decades. But as long as humans interact with each other, the dreams we all have for a perfect society will never be fully realized. Storms still rage from time to time, delaying the fulfillment of Dr. King’s and our dreams. People are still subjected to intolerance and bigotry, to abuse of power, to verbal and physical attacks.
The hurricane reminds us that we must always be vigilant, always work together to bring about the good, the right. As people of faith, it is our task, no matter what trials present themselves.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” From Matthew 18
The monument reminds us of our never-ending task: to bind injustice and harm, and to set loose freedom, opportunity, dignity, sensitivity, respect. Even a small number of people can eventually bring positive change.
Storms will come and slow our progress, but the truth, carved from the stone of God’s grace and human experience, will stand. And God will be with us.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011