Dr. King and the Dream
The world saw him as a marching protest leader, an activist, spokesman, civil rights leader, and the conscience of a nation. With keen and sensitive insight, he so eloquently proclaimed that a profound social and human predicament faced our nation and the world. However, some of his greatest messages to us were not preached from a “mountaintop” before millions, but from a little pulpit back home at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Dr. King once said, “before I was a civil rights leader, I was a preacher of the gospel. This was my first calling and it still remains my greatest commitment.
Just one month before an assassin’s bullet found him, Dr. King went back home. For so long, he had lectured and preached to others about the magnificent dreams of unity, brotherhood, hope, and justice. He had taken his messages to the uttermost parts of the world and met with kings, queens, popes, rabbis, and archbishops. But now he was home for a time of reflection, reunion, and rest.
This sermon was different. In this sermon, “Unfulfilled Dreams,” he preached from the eighth chapter of first Kings and talked about its “cosmic significance because it says so much in so few words about life.” It tells the story of King David, who had a dream to build a great temple to honor the Lord, God of Israel. Although the temple was never completed, God blessed David because the dream was in his heart.
In this sermon, Dr. King talked about the shattered dreams of Mahatma Gandhi who dreamed about the independence and unity of India as one great nation moving toward a higher destiny. Gandhi labored for years through nonviolent revolution hoping to realize his dream. But the dream was shattered because the nation that Gandhi wanted so badly to unite was riddled with conflict between the Hindus and Moslems. President Woodrow Wilson dreamed of a League of Nations but died before the promise was delivered. The Apostle Paul dreamed of carrying the gospel to Spain but instead ended up in a prison cell in Rome.
While reading this sermon, I remembered my own dream, that my children would never see the inhumanity I saw, would never feel the injustice I felt, nor would they taste the bitterness of bigotry that consumed this nation when I was a child.