Author: Rev. Peter Cusick
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968 once said: “Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.”
The images, words, and prophetic unctions of Martin Luther King haunt our culture—and so they should. The haunting is not more powerful than when we hear the cry of his heart. His heart cried for others. His desire to be near Jesus was not for his sake but for the sake of others. His dreams for everyone, all of us, regardless of creed or colour to live in honour and respect for each other.
The otherness of King stands in stark contrast to the ‘me-first’ of our present culture. Imagine what he might say if he were among us today! I believe King’s desire to be right beside Jesus was because of who Jesus was and is. Jesus, among all persons preached and lived—love, justice, truth and commitment to others. The essence of the Christian faith centres around the cross where Christ died for others. Jesus came to make a new world—King knew it—so he preached it!
Can you hear the cry of King’s heart just one more time? He is calling for freedom, freedom to be other-minded, to care, to love, to honour, to serve. “…and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’” And that is something to think about