This holiday weekend is always odd to me. Odd not in why we celebrate or commemorate the work that Martin Luther King, Jr did and how he changed our society. Odd in the reaction to it.
I'm white. I have grown up in and ministered to white congregations. Always at this time of year, within my congregation, I hear complaints about this holiday. "Why do we need to celebrate this day?" Growing up I remember hearing horrible jokes (which I confess I laughed at or acted like I agreed with) about this holiday as well. Of course all of these comments and jokes came from whites. They don't see the need and then in turn complain about this holiday. This gives credence to the idea that we have not come very far from the society that MLK Jr. changed.
In my life and ministry I have grown to admire and look forward to this Sunday because it gives me a chance to name and show my congregation what God can do. Whether you are white, black, brown, yellow, green or some shade in between, you have to admire a man who gave his life to a higher purpose, to a higher calling, and changed the world. This doesn't happen that often in our worlds. It has to be something we admire and stop to commemorate.
MLK Jr. was a man of God. He was a minister. It surprises me that in this culture which looks for people to hold up and show the world the power of Christianity (Tebow for example) that more Christians don't celebrate the reality that as a nation we pause and give thanks for the work a man of God did for this country. Thank you Martin Luther King, Jr. for having the courage and audacity to follow your calling.