I have a dream

Tuesday Reflection

22nd December 2020

'when people will be accepted'

Make every effort to keep
the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace.

....Ephesians 4:3

Martin Luther King Jnr,
led black Americans in the
civil rights movement,
in the USA in the Sixties.

He was a great orator.
Once heard, his words echoed
though the mind,
each echo getting louder
not softer.

'I have a dream.'

He affirmed,

'I have a dream...
of a time when people
will be accepted for the
content of their character
and not the colour
of their skin.'

A dream of a time when people
of all races would live
together in peace.

He was killed for that dream.
because the dream challenged
the way things were,
and begged to change things.

It could have been
a harmless dream;
just words; nice sentiments;
and Matin Luther might have
lived to a ripe old age.

The trouble was he believed
his dream could become
a reality.
This gave him,
and his followers, courage -
and what courage it was -
to face the fanatic hatred
and blind violence
of people who were
frightened by a dream.

His dream and courage are
important, but to me
the greatest thing about him
was that, while he was
prepared to die for his dream,
he was not prepared to kill for it.

Idealism can so easily
become corrupted.
People are coerced
'for their own good'.

Today's world has many
killers who are compelled
by idealism,
who will not only die
for what they believe in,
but to kill for it also.
That's where things go wrong.

The Christmas revelation
to the shepherds at
Bethlehem links,
'peace on earth' with
'goodwill to all people',
(some translations have
'peace to men of goodwill')
and both are proceeded by,
'glory to God'
(Luke 2:14).

Goodwill not violence,
brings peace and glory to God.
Threatening the 'other side'
with destruction produces,
at best,
a stalemate where no-one
gets killed but cannot
be called peace.

There were no weapons
in the gifts the Wise Men
brought to Jesus.

And later, when Jesus said,

'I did not come
to bring peace,
but the sword.'

(Matthew 10:34)

he was facing people
with the fact that his 'dream'
would be so unacceptable
to many that they would
resist it violently.
He was not using
the sword as a threat.

Peace can only come
when people are prepared
to die for their ideals,
but not to kill for them.

Michel Quoist,
a French Catholic priest,
theologian and writer,
of the last century
made a similar point
when he wrote,

'only then will people
have laid the
foundation for peace.'

I'm not sure I
totally agree with him though;
surely Christ had already
laid the foundation
for peace.

Our job is to build on it.