I’ve posted this week about some of fascinating background behind King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It’s an amazing piece of American history and American literature. All should take time to read it. Over the next few days I am going to reflect on some of my favorite quotations from the letter.
King begins by addressing the charge that the things happening in Birmingham were none of his business.
He responded, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.”
King could have played it safe. But he didn’t.
King voluntarily put himself in harms way because he recognized that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He wrote, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
This begs a question. When and where are standing for justice? When have we rallied around a cause, not because it would make our lives better, but simply because injustice is there and it, in and of it self, is our enemy.
Dignity of life issues and opposition to abortion may be an example, but often our stand for life costs us little. It’s a good stand, but it can’t be our only stand. Are we equally passionate about caring for the lives that are saved, making sure they live in safe neighborhoods, attend good schools, and get good jobs? We are tied these children born into poverty by an “inescapable network of mutuality.”
Do we realize that we wear a “single garment of destiny” with families who have entered our country illegally to escape poverty and violence? We should be as committed their flourishing, as we are to things like border security and job protection. Our destiny is tied to theirs. The whole world benefits when our poorest neighbors prosper.
How willing are we to take a costly stand, to put our own reputation, treasure, and safety on the line to push back against evil that threatens not us, but our neighbors.
King also quoted Thurgood Marshall who wrote, "Justice too long delayed is justice denied."
There is an urgency to matters of justice. To delay it is to perpetuate it. To stand idly is a moral wrong. When injustice comes to our attention we are compelled to act. While as individuals we cannot tackle every evil in the world, we certainly ought to be involved in confronting some.
Hats off to organizations like International Justice Mission, World Relief, and The Preemptive Love Coalition who are in some of the most dangerous places in the world because injustice is there.
At Central Christian Church we are committed to addressing issues of justice and standing with those in need. Jesus didn't put us in Springfield so that we could worship comfortably in a beautiful sanctuary. He put us in springfield so that give our most vulnerable neighbors a taste of heaven and a relationship with Jesus. Join us for worship at 10:30 Sunday Mornings. Join us in community service the rest of the week.
"This blog is my way of connecting with people at Central and beyond to encourage them to make their space in the world more like Heaven."
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog reflect my thoughts and opinions as an individual, not the formal positions of our church. Central includes people with a wide range of opinions on important issues like those addressed in my posts. It is also a place where we can discuss these issues with civility and grace.