The observance of MLK weekend seems particularly poignant this year. The pulse of our country indicates an unhealthy nation with frightening and discouraging symptoms. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
Currently, it seems that our steps are not toward the right goal. The divisive climate that fosters resentment, distrust, anger, and violence makes our land darker, not brighter. We could use a Jubilee. Jubilee was a year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be kept every 50 years by the emancipation of Hebrew slaves, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land.
It was a season of starting over, beginning again. It offered the oppressed hope. It restored social balance. It brought dignity to society as a whole and as individuals. In a world too often characterized by that which is damaging, destructive, and disheartening, people of faith must rise up to strive for that which is enlightening, hopeful, and constructive.
The life-changing power of the Gospel offers what human ingenuity and effort will never accomplish. We are resurrection people, saved by grace. We are fueled by the greatest force the world has ever known. Dr. King claimed, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
Our God of love is also God of holiness and justice. The prophet Micah recorded the response required of us: “To live justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” No one said it was easy, just necessary.