Why Do We Build These Walls – King Day

Over the weekend Patty and I took in a few movies, it is what she wanted to do for her birthday that we could not get to a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately 12 Years A Slave was still showing locally. Some may not like the comparison but it was as disturbing as I remember watching Shindler’s List. Both revealed the consequences of dehumanizing a group of people. And, how easy it seemed to be for those in power to do so.

Today schools will be out for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Some will not admit to that being the reason for a day off. In those instances it will go by another name. Maybe it is because the constituency in those local public schools resist acknowledging the historical import of such a day. It is hard to imagine a better teaching moment than to dismiss students in honor of such a figure dedicated to equality for all human beings.

Last night we talked about sin in our evening Bible Study. It is hard not to see that the sin of the world is at least represented in the way we dehumanize one another for our own benefit. Human pride sets aside the value of the other. If God aims for a different way for human beings to express the image of Godself then surely we need(ed) someone to represent that to us and for us so that it might be produced in us. John said, “Look, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

Could it be that church leaders could focus less on what supports their own vision and work together for the vision cast by Jesus? Martin Luther King Jr. seemed to capture the sheer force of such a representation. Scot McKnight offered King’s Letter. It closes with,

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Reading King’s Letter I could not help but think of Anais Mitchell’s folk opera, Hadestown. The song from the concept album, Why We Build The Wall ends with this CERBERUS,

What do we have that they should want?
We have a wall to work upon!
We have work and they have none
And our work is never done
My children, my children
And the war is never won
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free
We build the wall to keep us free

Here is a story about a couple who have built something other than a wall inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

1 comment on “Why Do We Build These Walls – King Day

  1. Steve Adams says:

    I believe the only way to obey the first “great commandment” is to obey the second.

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