Saturday, January 23, 2010
Excerpt from Rev. Eric's speech on MLK Day titled..."Unity"
We are here today, not just because of the MLK holiday, but because of Dr. Kings work to bring about unity. His work was not just for African-Americans, but for all Americans, because he helped us to first see the artificial lines of separation we had drawn, and through God's word, helped us to find the courage to begin the process of erasing them.
In his short life (Jan. 15, 1929 - Apr. 4, 1968), he worked to overcome the laws and social practices that divided us. He worked to tear down the high, but thin walls of race, color and class so that we might come together as a nation, under God, in spite of our differences. Because of his work, and the work of countless others, we are here today...together...in unity.
Rev. King left us the legacy of his work, not for us to rest on what he has built, but for us to finish what he started...his work of unity.
To finish that work, we need to understand...what unity is, why we need it, and how we can achieve it.
1) What is it? Webster says that it is "the state or quality of being one: under one common purpose or goal." Unity is partly defined by what it is not . Unity is not being the same. Though many live as though they believe it, but it is not necessary for you and I to seek to be the same in order to find unity, or that if we are not the same, then we can't possibly be unified. There is beauty in the fact that we are in many ways different, yet we together can function as one unit, a family, a community, or a nation. The bible best describes in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Just as the hand is much different than the head, and the head much different than the ear, and the nose, and the eye, and the heart, etc. they all need each other to function as one unit called the body. So as we look at those around us, and our first thought is that we are not the same, let our second thought be that in spite of our difference, we need each other.
2) Why do we need it? Simply put, we need unity to survive. In Matthew 12:25, Jesus taught us that "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." If you peer through history, you will see that the greatest nations that ever were, did not ultimately fall from attacks from the outside, but from turmoil, corruption and division from the inside. And we had better read the writing on the wall, and come together lest we fall. Did you realize that there are people in many parts of the world who are of different races, colors, nationalities and ethnicities....different in many more ways than we are as Americans, but have found unity under one common ideal...Hate For America! So if we want to save our jobs, our schools, our neighborhoods, our children, our way of life...we better come together, and we better do it NOW!
3) How do we achieve it? In order to achieve unity, we must train ourselves and our children to appreciate our differences and focus on our common goals. Just think about it, there may be some here who have worked with some of the same people for years, yet you barely speak to them at work and never speak to them out in the community. And you do that because you focus on the differences you see on the outside, and assume that because they don't look the same, you couldn't possibly have anything in common. But I bet if you look closer, take the time to get to know that person, you will find they want their kids educated just like you, they want job security just like you, they have hopes and dreams...just like you. You would realize that you are not so different after all. But when we focus on our differences, it is so much easier to hate, and so much harder to find unity. Dr. King said "Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes personality and eats away at its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false, and the false with the true." But when we focus on what we have in common, it becomes easier to love and easier to find unity.
So unity....you know what it is, you know why we need it, and you know how to achieve....so all that is left to do is to go out and find it.
God Bless You and Happy Martin Luther King Day.
If you liked this blog post, you may also like "Beware of the Wedge"