Posted by George Morrison

This week sees the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King. The small town Baptist Pastor who found himself projected into the Civil Rights Movement and, recognising the grave injustices, set out to “redeem the soul of America”. His recognition that love, translated into non-violence, would win the day was inspirational and his speeches, quoting liberally from the Bible, heralded a new day. In the speech from the Lincoln Memorial Building in Washington he quoted Isaiah chapter 40, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” bringing hope of a better future to millions. He said, in his descriptive language, “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope” little did he think that he would be that stone. In his final address in Memphis he etched his vision in the memorable words, “I have been to the mountaintop, I have seen the promised land”. The next day he was to enter it, cut down at the age of 39 by an assassin’s bullet. His memory is perpetuated in an annual holiday while the place of his death, now a memorial, is largely ignored, visitors to Memphis preferring to visit the home of that other famous son, Elvis Presley. In many ways this reflects the treatment his Master, Jesus Christ received. He was the one of whom Isaiah spoke. Jesus’s death and resurrection opened up the way for sinners to be forgiven and enter into a new life. Jesus too has public holidays. The fickle crowd enjoy the holidays but largely ignore the life and teachings of the one commemorated. Are you one of that crowd? If so read and reflect on the “Two Ways to Live” elsewhere on this site and you may find that you too are part of the outworking of Isaiah’s prediction.