This quote from Martin Luther King, whom we celebrate on Monday, has been on my mind all week. In fact I used it the other day in a post. Today, as we head towards that particular celebration of a civil rights hero, a firestorm erupted on social media.
Apparently Rep. John Lewis of Georgia had an interview with NBC on Friday and he noted that he did not see Trump as a legitimate president. You can see a portion of the interview at this link. Whether or not you agree with John Lewis, he is a man who has given his life over to the betterment of our nation. An early and active leader in the Civil Rights, one of the “Big Six” in the movement during the 60’s. At the head of this group stood none other than Dr. King. Roll Call said of Lewis, “John Lewis…is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber.” Ultimately, Lewis’ leadership is not some dotted line or winding road attached to the legacy of Martin Luther King, it bears a direct connection. Connected to this is the legacy of the non-violent protest.
All of this, which you likely know a good deal of already, points to what went down on social media today… In response to Lewis’ interview, the president-elect saw no other path forward than to blast him. Hard. In fact, here it is, 7:45pm on Saturday night and as recently as 20 minutes ago, the president-elect was still tweeting about Lewis.
This got me to thinking about the King quote in relationship to the two men. What is their measure? John Lewis was a leader of the nonviolent resistance movement in the 60’s, (pay attention people, that is the movement that we all need to focus on!) who has been attacked by dogs and men, and who did not react with violence. Donald Trump who was busy avoiding the draft in the 60’s responds to the slightest criticism with a barrage of angry tweets.
What is the measure of each man?
Now remember, this is a blog about the intersection of faith and life. So let’s talk faith… I am thinking about another man in another era. He was also known as a man known for his nonviolent acts of resistance. In fact his acts of nonviolent resistance were all about revealing the Kingdom of God to one and all. OK, he did get angry that time and turned over the tables, but nobody got hurt as far as we know. Mostly he told stories in parable form, asked questions, and put himself in touch with the people on the fringes.
At the time that the man I’m describing was born, in fact we just heard about this last week in church, a certain king caught wind of his birth. It seems that three kings made their way to find him. Thinking that the king would surely know this child’s whereabouts, they dropped in on the King, who was not aware of this important birth. In fact, he was quite rattled by the idea of a child-king who might threaten him. You know, if you are a king, kids can be a real threat! Anyway, we all know that those kings did not reveal the location of the baby to the big king after all. Many children were slaughtered because the king felt was necessary, just in case, to make sure that child was not an obstacle. Anyway, the baby grew up to be Jesus Christ, and the king was Herod.
What was the measure of each man?
This weekend, as we take note of our nation’s history, as we remember an American hero, and as we inch towards the inauguration of a most controversial president, may we all all reflect on the real measure of the heart. How we will we respond to situations of challenge? If we can’t deal with things in our comfort, we will never deal with them in our challenge.
What will our measure be?