Hope Beyond Reason: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received enough death threats to turn any normal human recluse. Cross burnings were a common occurrence on his front lawn. His home was bombed and set on fire. He was regularly targeted by local, state, and federal authorities. Beaten, arrested 29 times, and placed on the FBI’s “enemies of the United States.” All this against a backdrop of a bitterly divided country engaged in a heavily protested war. Why go on? Why in God’s name, dear to hope?

What if he hadn’t dared? What if the people who became legions that joined him had decided the task was too tall? The country too divided to heal? It’s political leaders to selfish to serve? 

Hope beyond reason is a declaration of life. Purposeful action in the direction of things hoped for is evidence of living. Dr. King withstood a brutal reality beyond most of our wildest imaginings, but he never turned from his vision of a just and beautiful state of humanity. His unwavering faith that we could, and would, be better fueled his extraordinary effort to make it so. We often recognize his efforts, but his faith came first.

Dr. King’s defiant hope is not only an example, but a call to action to all of us yesterday, today, and always. Some small handful of believers must have faith in better–no matter how improbable–before things ever get better. Change ripples out from the faith of these few.

With all the festivities of MLK Day behind us and all the reason in the world to be cynical, we remain in need of a faithful few. If not you, then who?


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