Sunday, January 15, 2006

Will his dream die?

Today's Valley News Dispatch has an article by Tom Mitchell describing the scarcity of special observances in the Alle-Kiski Valley on Martin Luther King Day. The headline over the story asks whether this lack of observances means that his dream will die. The article tells about local ecumenical services being cancelled because of lack of attendance.

The thought that the dream might die is troubling.

Not all observances have been cancelled. Last week I blogged about the Alle-Kiski Valley Service for 2006 that will be held at the Bethesda Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lower Burrell on January 29 at 3:00 PM.

In fact last year I commented on the reason the local observance will not happen on the holiday weekend. And is it any surprise? Everyone around here knows that the big local excitement this weekend was a football game, overshadowing much else that might be happening at the same time. The planners of the local event did not know what the Steelers would be up to when they picked the date, but they were accurate in their predictions that whatever the Steelers were doing would have all the local attention.

Christmas didn't die last year when some big churches cancelled their Sunday services; nor did Sunday die.

King's dream will stay alive when we remember it and recommit ourselves to pursuing it.

So here is the description of King's dream from his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. It is worth remembering.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

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