When I was young, I did not know anyone more focused on social justice than my mother, Peg Fullmer…..Until
.... one day, she informed me that we were headed to Riverside Church in New York City to see a man called Dr. Martin Luther King. Mom spoke of him often and how he was a teacher of love like Jesus. She said that he
believed in peace and spoke with compassion like Jesus. She told me that what he had to say mattered to us all. So we went to New York City.
Riverside church was a cathedral of great stature. I remember it was freezing February, and everyone wore large tweed overcoats. I remember hundreds of people gathered in the stone sanctuary making it hard to see or breathe… for a very short person. I remember waiting to be ushered in from the Narthex, wanting to be lifted up and held so I could see. My mom struggled to lift me, just as Dr. King walked up to ask where the robing room was. My mother whispered, “Sally you are in the presence of a great man.” So I stared with big eyes at that man. He caught my eye. He smiled back with a light in his eyes and a comforting smile that reached to my soul.
Something happened in me at that moment. It felt like a bond.
Since then, I have carried a love for people that sees beyond appearances and conditions. I have carried a care and concern for social justice beyond my own understanding. If Dr King could have a dream, then I could have
his dream too.
My own life decisions have led me to be a counselor, and teacher. Having been through deep pain and struggle, and been made stronger, I see how people can be redeemed. We must first overcome the tyranny of our own
terrors, in order to overcome the chains of judgement, and misperception that have tormented this planet through time. I now work every day to assist people through fear and traumas of the past, to new fertile ground
where life can organically thrive.
Dr. King had options to fight, he had reasons to rage, but his way was compassion and his words were scripture. Mother Theresa once said, “People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered…. forgive them anyway.” Jesus once said, “I, of myself, can do nothing, but the father within me can do all things”. Dr King and Mother Theresa carried the same lighthouse of faith, and that has made all the difference in me and so many others. I hope that each one of us will ponder how we can step into a call beyond ourselves and trust the force with all our might. (pause)
My mother gave me a gift that day which at the time I did not know. How often we are being given gifts and we just don’t know. Her gift of care and compassion has mattered in my life. It has made me a better counselor, a
better friend, a better person. What we show our children matters. What we think, say and demonstrate, matters. When I sing the song, “ Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” I sing with passion.
Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
I know as clearly as I stand before you that the dream lives. It lives in me, and your presence here this morning proclaims it lives in you.
LET US PRAY….
LOVING FATHER MOTHER GOD....
We open our hearts and minds to your love.
Help us to see, feel, and hear with your love;
to live with kindness and wisdom.
Awaken us from our sleep. Stir us from self-centered placidness,
beyond the comfort of old judgements and attachments.
Shift our perception from fear to love.
Show us the way to face adversity, within us, and around us …
with courage and conviction.
Give us the audacity to love past appearances, to dream impossible
dreams, and to focus on solutions in our thoughts, words and actions.
For truly if we have faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains of
suffering, we can forgive ourselves and others, and move forward in
freedom, happiness and justice for all.
We thank you God, for the testament of Jesus which told us again and
again that, We need not fear.
We can overcome when we walk in another’s moccasins.
We can overcome with humble openness, honesty and willingness.
We can overcome as we listen to your still small voiceguiding us
to love one another.
And so it is…….AMEN
If Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr were here with us
today, what would he say? A compelling question for this
time of strong words, increased tensions and significant