Martin Luther King Jr.: A different way
Updated: Feb 1
I asked Dr. King for help in assimilating yet another murderous rage attack on a young black man.*
Ann: Dr. King?
Martin Luther King Jr.: Yes. Michael, as you may know was my name of origin, but I and my father before me chose to carry the name of a great redeemer, Martin Luther**, a German priest of the 16th century, who struck a massive blow for understanding, tolerance, and freedom, He did so at great personal cost, but his persistence opened a door, and his courage is our heritage today.
Today we have need of all that he and others like him have offered us. I, like many before me, saw the worst of the human spirit - tattered, torn, and distorted almost beyond recognition, and I, like you, despaired.
You see the same phenomenon today in the tragedy of a young black man destroyed at the hands of a mob, albeit a small one and one of the same race as the victim, but an unthinking, reactionary, and murderous mob for all that.
It seems that it takes very little to unleash the anger stored within. As this mockery of law enforcement shows, when the reins of spiritual connection are slipped, if we have not looked deeply into our own souls, we can project our inner frustration hatred outward into unspeakable horrors.
And though this time it is black on black, once again it is the privileged, the closed cult, turning on whomever appears to be a threatening outsider. Wrath escalates out of all proportion to the trigger, and any check on reality falls by the wayside forgotten and unlamented.
The color of our skin is not the root cause. It may be the excuse, but the violence that erupts from one soul is nascent in each and every one of us because we are all afraid. As a result, each of us has the capacity to kill, maim, and torture to protect what we hold dear, be it our position, our property, or our loved ones. Only our own inner work, recognizing our weakness and reconnecting our lost souls to the strength and nurturance of the Divine can alleviate this fear.
Go forth, my children, in humility and love, love for each and every one of us caught within the net of mortality and suffering, and offer to yourselves and to each other a different way.
We can, as the saying goes, choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The great spiritual teachers have taught us many ways, but each and every one of them start with compassion and love for ourselves and our fellow human beings.
As we turn and look into each other’s eyes and recognize our common humanity and its essential divinity, we embark upon the work of a lifetime to open our hearts as Jesus has taught us to each other and to our Holy Mission.
Let us, then, follow in his wake and be about our Father’s business.
January 28, 2023
*Tyre Nichols, 23, died on January 10, 2023 as a result of a violent beating by five Memphis police officers after a traffic stop three days earlier.
**Martin Luther (1483- 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, professor, and Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation whose followers became known as Lutherans. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church...
Luther taught that salvation and, consequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God's grace through the believer's faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge, and... by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood.