What is your favorite quote by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? This one was shared on Facebook by Terri Marshall Gilfillan, who always ferrets out the best stories to make us ponder how we can collectively create a better world.
My own favorite MLK quote:
We must stand tall. No man can ride the back of another man standing tall.
When we stand tall in the face of oppression and abuse, we convey an attitude of authentic power ~ the power that is invested in us at our birth ~ the power of Spirit. We remind others that we are all God’s children. As MLK explained:
The greatness of this period was that we armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect. We straightened our backs up. A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent. . .
Inner strength and integrity will make us whole again.
One of the central principles of my life is that we must pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on us. MLK expressed it more bluntly and clearly:
To expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition. . .
The question is not whether we shall be free but by what course we will win. The comfortable, the entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change in the status quo. Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Freedom has always been an expensive thing. Freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial. . .
There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by oppression. There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom.
Most of my readers weren’t alive when the Rev. Dr. King gave his infamous I Have a Dream speech or on that horrid day when he was assassinated. In many respects, it seems he sensed that he would never get to live in the Promised Land. But, this didn’t deter him from working toward his vision:
Shattered dreams are a hallmark of our mortal life. One of the most agonizing problems within our human experience is that few, if any, of us live to see our fondest hopes fulfilled. The hopes of our childhood and the promises of our mature years are unfinished symphonies.
What is the unfinished symphony of your life? Light a candle today to celebrate MLK and your own life. Connect with Spirit and reflect on the magic God invested in you at your birth. Then, stand tall. Stand tall against the challenges of your life and promise yourself that you will prevail. One day you will say with conviction: