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  • Reverend James Squire

Martin Luther King’s Words Transform A Holiday into a Holy Day

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

Photo by the New York Public Library

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s Holiday reminds us of the legacy of important words that he has left to shape our way forward as a country to ethical conduct, harmony, peace, and justice. Recall

holiday sounds like holy day. Dr. King said the following: “Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?”; Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?”; Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” “There comes a time when someone must take a position that is not safe, politic, or popular. One must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

I believe that this moral code articulated by Dr. King was meant for the moment in which we find ourselves today. It succinctly defines the ethical view that is needed now.

I would suggest that we should open our eyes to see clearly the cowardice, expediency, vanity, quest for popularity yielding power with the knowledge that what Trump, the insurrectionists, and his enablers did was wrong. It is beyond what can be justified by any legal maneuvers or rationalizing. We will certainly see some attempting to make what is wrong into right denying any wrong doing. Consequences must come before healing can occur.

But we have heart work to do to keep our hope and faith alive.

I would suggest an exercise on this Martin Luther King Day. We should read Dr. King’s words written above repeatedly a few times and then shut our eyes to see a deeper vision that is offered by our faith in God and one another. Why?

Denzel Washington’s words point the way: “Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss, or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen but felt by the heart.”

Our homework on this day should be our heart work. That will make our holiday a holy day. That is what has always moved people to the Promised Land.

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