A Reflection on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

By Sandra Steiner Ball

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NIV

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I am reminded that Christ calls us to unity and reconciliation.  We are not called to establish unity, but to live into the unity that Christ established when he took on human flesh, lived our life, and died on the cross so that humanity would be reconciled with God and have life.  

Christ invites us to put God at the center of everything in our lives and to do this with great excitement, enthusiasm, and expectation.  Christ invites us to reflect on the fact that God’s power is far beyond anything that we can think or image. And, that power, the power of God, who loves us without condition, can and will break apart any walls that divide us – if only we will fully surrender ourselves to the generosity of God’s love for us, all of us, and all of creation.

Relationship is at the center of this power of God.  God sent God’s son.  God gave God’s son. God desires relationship and journeys with us. 

God gives us the pathway to abundant life.  God gives us the movement of God’s Spirit.  God gives hope, healing, forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, transformation, salvation, new life!  We have a generous God who calls us also to be generous.  Generosity necessitates relationship! God generously invites us into God’s vision and mission and gives us an opportunity to participate in it.  And, when we take this opportunity to participate in God’s vision and mission we experience conversion – we become more of the image in which each of us were created and our participation and relationship building opens the way for others to experience the same conversion.  

This kind of labor of love, in which we sacrifice, give ourselves for others, breaks down walls and builds community.  In this labor of love, we get a glimpse the face of God. As I reflect on the vision, hopes, and dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. I have no doubt that his work and ministry was calling and still calls all of us to this labor of love – which enables us to experience a deep shift in how, we see, act, and think. 

We are created for and called to do our work together because Jesus, out of God’s unconditional love, has brought us together.  Our fruitfulness and the transformation of the world depend on us remaining connected to Jesus and developing intentional relationship with one another participating together to fulfill God’s generous mission and ministry.  When we participate in God’s mission of planting and nurturing love in this world, even participating in a small act of generosity – a cup of cold water, a kind word, a shoulder to cry on, holding up someone else’s arms -the transformation that will take place can go far beyond what we can think or imagine.  And, yes, these acts can snatch persons away from the brink of death into new life.

Each of us are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved – believe in this truth – for when you do, then you will be empowered to go to others and help them to know that they are chosen and beloved too!  When we can move to this place, God’s dream will become our dream, and yes, that dream is able to transform this world. 

Could you or your congregation …

  • Make a connection this week with someone new who is not like you. Listen to their story. 
  • Initiate a relationship with a community group.  Listen to their story.  Seek how you can work together.
  • Initiate a relationship with a Foster Family in your community. Listen to their story.
  • Get involved with relocating a refugee family. Listen to their story – and remember that Jesus and his family were once refugees in Egypt.