From the Frost archives:
By the Rev. Gregory C. Guice
Special to Frost Illustrated
As we take a moment to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there is so much that we could reflect on with regard to this outstanding citizen who championed our cause for freedom and justice.
We could look back and see a man committed to being a husband, a father and a preacher; a man whose education was placed on the highest list of values for a family, who attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, and then achieved a greater understanding of his spiritual journey by attending Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
Many will remember his legacy that came forward as a young preacher at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church whose sermons quickly allowed those around him to see and hear his anointed presence. Speaking in Detroit Michigan in February 1954, Dr. King preached a sermon titled “Rediscovering Lost Values.” That sermon focused on the moral fibers of our communities. In his spiritually guided wisdom at such a young ages saw the challenges facing us as a community. and as Americans. Speaking to the congregation of Second Baptist Church he pointed out that the first principle of values that we need to rediscover is this: “…All reality hinges on moral foundation.”
Dr. King, in this sermon, paved the way for one of his highest callings, a calling that spearheaded a nonviolent movement that reshaped the foundation of America. It was a spiritual movement that echoed the call for world peace built on the principles of love and faith.
Dr. King, who was a student of Mahatma Gandhi and utilized Gandhi’s principles of non-violence as an effective tool for civil rights, became a man that lived his life by the values he believed. King stated:
“I’ve decided that I’m going to do battle for my philosophy. You ought to believe something in life, believe that the thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days. I can’t make myself believe that God wants me to hate. I’m tired of violence. And, I’m not going to let my oppressor dictate to me what method I must use. We have a power, power that can’t be found in Molotov cocktails, but we do have a power. Power that cannot be found in bullets and guns, but we have a power. It is a power as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mahatma Gandhi.”
Many of us we remember the legacy of Dr. King by the way he lived his life—as a living example of resistance, resistance to racism, to hatred, to injustice of all kinds. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated and dedicated his life to his belief. When we take a moment to remember his legacy, let embody his thoughts, his words, his walk, his truth. Let us remember this man not only with ceremony but with understanding his way of life.
And, as I look back, I will remember his as a Prince of Peace, who lived a life so that we may know him as a man of God.
In that vein, the final words that I plan to express on World Peace day are his words:
“I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nation, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.
“I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the alters of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will will proclaim the rule of the land.
“And the lion and lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid. I still believe that we shall overcome.”
Let us remember Dr. King as a man of vision and a man of peace—a “prince of peace.”
The Rev. Gregory C. Guice is the senior minister at Detroit Unity Temple and the former pastor of Christ Unity Church in Fort Wayne.