Much has been said for many years since the death of Martin Luther King. Some individuals are called to do great things in their lives. I recall the timing of his death as memorable, as I did when Jack Kennedy was killed. This might not be surprising for you all as American citizens, but bear in mind I was in growing up in England when this happened.
The same spark he lit in people for justice and love with fairness resonated with me my teen years. Someone standing up for what is right and willing to be disobedient to ensure everyone understood he would not stand for it.
Who does this remind you of in scripture?
Yes, Jesus Christ was a rebel in his own time. He would not stand for the double standards of the Pharisees; the moneychangers in the Temple and those willing to stone the adulteress. He stood up for the downtrodden, but also put down those stood in judgment of others without compassion, understanding, love and justice.
This week we have the opportunity to reflect on how difficult it is to actually operate as a Christian in our divided world. The sacrifice of Dr. King illustrates how far some are willing to go to ensure the voice of equality is not just heard, but exercised.
It makes me consider if I am really sticking up for the disenfranchised and others who need help? Am I doing enough to make a Christian voice heard in a wilderness of divisiveness which envelopes much of the conversation today?
Dr. King reminds us all of the greatest love of all. The willingness to lay down your life for a friend. (John 15:13) In Dr. King’s case, he also did it for many who perhaps were not his friend at the time.
Martin Luther King … A reminder of Hope
The face is now silent,
Yet calls us to break from the stone,
To speak and act for justice and love.
Seen each day, as the second door closes without drama,
And a final check is made for keys and a cell phone.
Yet, someone spend time designing a screen with a purpose,
And even creativity.
Did the author think of the bees which would be separated from my breakfast?
Did a production manager agrees to a stronger and more expensive door?
I know not, but the door is somehow a little more present today.
As I AM.
Sometimes as wide as a river which has burst its banks,
Spilling out to engulf everything we touch,
Until it is sodden.
At others like an arrow, directed specifically to wound,
And pierce a heart which we thought was protected,
Yet it is not.
We can swim to shore,
Or visit the infirmary to heal the wound,
But we cannot endure on our own.
For this sadness penetrates our soul, and the eternal soulmate,
Who dwells within.
THE UNBROKEN WORD
When we hear those infamous words “the call,” those of my generation think about it as something restricted to saints or vocations for the religious life. We view the words as something sacred, yet something unattainable for us mere mortals. It is left to those special ones chosen by Christ to do the “important” work here on earth.
We could not be more mistaken. God has chosen each one of us, and our unique contribution to do his work. In the Confirmation program at Saint Eulalia’s much of the program is based around the word “chosen.” Each of us is made in His image. The image of God. With that as a starting point, it could not be any other way.
“I have chosen you to be with me.”. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” (paraphrase of John 15:16 and Mark 3:13)
So when we hear “the call” we, first of all, have to break this down to a more practical level. We don’t get just one call in our lives. There may be calls that are louder than others, which seem impossible to refuse (like my move to California recently for example), but there are many more calls which are reminders of how God wants us to live out our lives.
Perhaps I can reflect on the calls which have been vital in my life. The ones which really changed everything.
If there are many calls, then perhaps the most critical point is for me to listen more attentively so I might hear them. So instead of waiting for a lightning strike that is going to knock me to the ground to get our attention, I should instead be listening for small, still voice in the heart where God is with me all the time.
St. John Paul II always talked of small steps, of micro-conversions during each day, each one moving us in an almost indiscernible way to be closer to God. Each one of these steps moves us closer to God, as we help our neighbor, resolve an ancient dispute or love the unloved.
So the call may not be massive life event (although sometimes it can be) but can be smaller calls during each day. And the call to Holiness is a silent but continuous call which is as present as the air we breathe.
Let me look for the small calls, God’s voicemails if you like, to see where I am being called today.
All calls are not equal.
The fire alarm invites us all to leave the building,
Calling us to safety and anxiety.
While the call for supper invites us to share,
With loved ones in spiritual and bodily nourishment.
Of all calls, the ones imbibed with love should never be screened out.
Because the source validates the message.
And should be acted upon.