Sunday, January 18, 2009
Today is a national holiday here in the U.S. It's a day where we celebrate the birthday of a great American, born and raised in the south, who lived and died for what he believed...
Thank you. Today is my birthday.
Um, I was actually talking about Martin Luther King.
Yes, sir. You. Today's a national holiday celebrating your birthday.
My birthday was Thursday.
I was born January 15th, 1929. 80 years ago. It was a Tuesday. I don't remember, of course, but I was told it was a Tuesday.
I was born on January 19th. In 18-aught-7.
Shouldn't that be "naught-7"...
Son, don't correct your elders.
As I was saying, I was born on January 19th, some 202 years ago. So, today's my birthday.
But today's the day we celebrate Dr. King's birthday.
Son, I believe you said the birthday of a man "born and raised in the south, who lived and died for he believed" ... didn't you?
And today is my birthday...
He's right, son.
Yes, sir, I understand. But it's your birthday, Dr. King...
No, son, it's not.
I understand, sir. But it's the day we celebrate your birthday.
Why on earth would you celebrate my birthday on a day other than my birthday?
Well, most federal holidays are moved to a Monday.
Why? Because it's convenient?
Well, yes, actually, when you get right down to it.
Oh. So I'm remembered when it's convenient? I'm honored with a sale at Sears and Roebuck? People who wouldn't know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for whom I was but a poor spokesman, call on my name but have no idea what I was really all about?
He's asking good questions, son.
Was it convenient when my house in Montgomery was bombed during the bus boycott? Does a sale at the shopping mall remind you of the dream of which I spoke in our nation's capital? Does sleeping late and taking a day off work remind you of my tireless efforts in the fight against discrimination in Albany, Birmingham, St. Augustine, or Selma?
But you want to celebrate my birthday on a day when it's convenient, so you can go out of town for a long weekend?
You don't have to say anything, son. But, I didn't give my life for a "convenient" birthday celebration. Besides, it's not about me. It's about freedom. It's about equality. And as long as people strive for freedom and equality, that's what's important. But people shouldn't take one day a year ... particularly the wrong day ... but should be fighting every day for freedom.
In, 1963, I said "I have a dream that my four little 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." We have not yet reached that day.
Tomorrow, a black man becomes president. And as long as people judge him as a black man, and not on his character, this nation will not have reached the day that my dream is fulfilled.
Some people voted against him because of his color. Others voted for him because of his color. Both of those votes are out of line with my dream. But those that voted for him ... or for his opponent ... because of the character of the man ... those are the ones that are living my dream.
But many feel that Barack Obama's election brings us closer to that day.
The teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will bring us closer to that day. Jesus Christ taught us to all love one another. Jesus Christ taught us that we are all God's children. Jesus Christ taught us that we are all part of the family of God, and that we'll all be together one day. Jesus Christ taught us that He is the way to eternal salvation. And if He is the way to salvation, surely He is the way to peace and harmony in our land.
Do not remember me by saving a dollar at J.C. Penney. Remember instead that I was just a poor, black preacher, who was saved by the grace of God though His Son, Jesus Christ. And He can save us all. And our country, if we just follow Him.