The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh — my adversaries and foes — they shall stumble and fall.
For the last few years I have made a point to watch one of my favorite sermons/speeches from Martin Luther King Jr. on this particular holiday. On April 3rd 1968 Dr. King delivered an address at the Church of God in Christ headquarters in Memphis Tennessee. As he makes his way eloquently through the problems facing Memphis, and addressing them as only a great preacher could do, you can feel as if you were sitting in the audience that night. He concludes with these words:
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to have a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
The next day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while standing on his motel’s second floor balcony.
To be devoted to Christian faith is never easy. Maintaining faith is spite of such horrible atrocities in the world is remarkably difficult. When faith is limited to talk, its easy. Dr. King showed the world the cost of discipleship when you talk and walk the faith of Jesus Christ.
Our faith is constantly tempted by outside elements and we are called to resist those temptations by living out our faith in whatever ways we can. The psalmist writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” If we take seriously the faith we affirm in Jesus Christ, if we proclaim Christ as Lord, then we really don’t have anything to fear.
So, as we all continue in our own faith journeys, let us remember the great disciples of the past, particularly Martin Luther King Jr. Let us strive to not only speak our faith, but walk it as well. Let us strive to work against injustice whenever we see it. Let us love unconditionally. Let us be the body of Christ for the world. Let us work hard to keep the faith as God has kept his faith in us.