Jim Rigby finds inspiration in the life and loss of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Towards the end of his career, Martin Luther King started calling himself a world citizen. He had escaped the prison of limited allegiance we are taught to have as Americans. He questioned capitalism. He questioned the American empire and whether we can surrender responsibility to such mechanistic systems and not lose our own humanity. People said that Dr. King had blown it by condemning the war in Viet Nam. Major news publications were saying he was no longer relevant. It appeared they had the last word.
Martin Luther King had been organizing a March of the Poor to make the face of poverty visible in Washington, D. C.. Civil rights workers built a tent city named “Resurrection City.” The name was based on the idea of the Exodus, the resurrection from brokenness to wholeness. Before the event could happen Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee while working to help sanitation workers. The people gathered in Resurrection City anyway. It rained on them. The mud was five feet deep in some places. The movement seemed to be in shambles. Newspapers weren’t reporting what was happening.
At the time, what looked like utter defeat gave birth to invincible dedication. When we look back with the eyes of discernment, we realize that something prophetic was happening that was invisible at the time. The powerful didn’t get to say what Martin Luther King meant to the poor. And that’s part of what faith means, doing our duty and not letting despair have the last word in our lives either.
Originally appeared at JimRigby.org