“Early morning, April 4, a shot rang out in the Memphis sky. ‘Free at last,’ they took your life, they could not take your pride.”
U2 fans will recognize the above, a quote from “Pride,” a big hit in 1984 on the fantastic album, Unforgettable Fire. The reference is of course to Martin Luther King Jr, who was shot to death forty years ago today and whom the song memorializes.
While King, like any vocal, passionate, famous person, has both supporters and detractors, it is hard to argue with his multi-racial vision of a future where men would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. This was not a vision embraced by all, and sadly, it still isn’t, but as the song indicates, those who wanted to kill King – and I’m sure James Earl Ray wasn’t the only one – could kill the man but not the dream.
While I reflect on the heart of this dream, the truth that God is about the business of redeeming for Himself a people from every tribe and tongue, and that the harmonious diversity of heaven should be our goal on earth, I cannot help but think of the candidacy of Barrack Obama for president. Now, I know that politics, like religion, stirs strong reactions, so it’s risky even to type the name. However, whether one likes or dislikes Obama is not my point. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Obama is not my point. My point is that it is a good thing that a man of color can be a serious contender for the presidency of the United States. This, I think, is unarguable.
How much has changed in 40 years? I don’t know, but may we all continue to hope, to pray, to strive and to dream, of a world more like the world that God intended.