I remember the night Senator Obama was won the election to become president. I was in prison at the time. A big black guy jumped on one of the tables and called out every white guy on the pod to fight. No one took him up on his challenge. I remember that so clearly, because I remember thinking to myself how sad it was. I immediately thought about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the dream he shared with all of us. At once I saw of far we had come as a society, and how far we still have to go.
Today we celebrate his birthday. Facebook is covered in pictures of him, each one seems to be trying to claim him. Once says he was a Republican, as though he would support what the party stands for today. My crazy conservative uncle actually said he was trying to forget that today was MLK day, and instead wants to believe they let school out so kids can go to the stock show. (Strange to me since my uncle has all the attributes of a redneck, but he isn’t white, he’s Indian. I would think he would have more sympathy, but he wouldn’t be my crazy uncle if he did.) Anyway, my point is that everyone wants to claim him and label him and use his image, but what was he really? To me he was a prophet.
Most people think that a prophet is someone who sees into the future and foretells what is to come. While many prophets were given visions of the future that is not what really makes someone a prophet. Most of the prophets of the Old Testament were critical of their own system. More often than not, a prophet was sent to address a wrong being committed by the king or people of Israel. There would usually be a prediction of doom if their advice was not heeded. Such predictions really are not so hard if you are honest about the circumstance. What is more important is that the prophet stand up before the ruler or the masses and speak the truth, no matter how unpopular that truth is. The unpopularity of the truth is why so many prophets were killed.
I have no doubt that Dr. King was a prophet. He saw injustice and stood up against it. He told the unpopular truth and they killed him for it. He did not use violence, even though the state did. The world watched the brutality of the police against the peacefulness of the protesters. They turned the other cheek and won.
Dr. King was not a perfect saint. He had his flaws. But here is yet another example of how God can do miraculous things through anyone open to Him, even a sinner. So many of us think you have to be perfect before you can do God’s work. I think the Bible and history tell us otherwise.
I do believe Dr. King was a saint. This quick post really does him no justice, I am painting in very broad strokes obviously. Let us just remember today a man who did God’s will. Who left the world a better place than he found it.