“We must learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Every third Monday in January we, as Americans, honor the birth and life of Martin Luther King Jr. Though his name is always before us, at least once a year, few of us take the time to reflect on the positive impact his words, his work, and the overall civil rights movement has had on our daily lives today.
If we’re honest, many of us have become unaffected and unaware that the struggle continues today.
Though we may have skimmed a few articles, liked a post on Facebook, visited a site, debated with a friend…the reality is many of us have forgotten that simple acts by our community, done in love, can change the course of history.
Mother Teresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
At a time when we seem to be more divided than we can remember, confused by “the other”, offended by other perspectives, or baffled by continued injustice, MLK Jr Day can seem like just another holiday on the calendar.
Today, we ask you to help change that…
This January 16th, as we once again celebrate the life and work that Martin Luther King Jr. represents, we invite you to take part in a simple yet formative experience:
First, for those who are able, as a community, let’s refrain from eating both breakfast and lunch. In lieu of this, grab a water or juice, and have a conversation with someone, or take a moment to read something, regarding King’s life, his work, or the civil rights movement. And, throughout the day, every time you feel a hunger pang remember those who are ethnically oppressed across the globe. Every time you feel hungry, remember the work that still needs to be done, within our own country, in regards to racial reconciliation. Remember the poor, remember the homeless, the hungry; those who suffer today for no other reason than being “different”.
Let us stand in solidarity with them by simply, yet intentionally, abstaining from the one thing most of us do everyday (and often take for granted)…eating.
Secondly, plan a get together for that evening; make it a potluck. Let the first meal you have that day be among friends and neighbors. Perhaps there is a neighbor who lives alone, perhaps you have a co-worker who thinks or believes differently than you, or maybe…fill in the blank…. INVITE THEM!!
Now, here’s the best part. Simply enjoy the meal. Don’t plan the whole evening out just be together. Tell stories, play a game, laugh, share your hearts.
And…at some point, for a few minutes, in the evening engage: Read a speech by King, listen to one of his messages during dinner, if your are religious say a prayer for peace, for justice…
Finally, we ask you to share the video and this idea with as many as you can over the next two weeks.
Who knows what might happen, the conversations that will take place; the new friendships that will form; a stronger community bond, better understanding, new ideas that help foster a more abundant and just society; and perhaps, because of these celebrations, there will come a time where our neighborhoods as a whole will look forward to this holiday, with anticipation, each year…
Whatever may happen…Let this be a part of the continued work of healing our communities!
As King once said: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.
Let’s take this step together.