As the trailers for upcoming movies came to an end, the lights lowered and I settled into my seat. I had decided to go to the movies alone. I had no popcorn or beverage, I was about to see him, something didn’t seem right about snacking. As the film began I found the meeting I had been anticipating was about to be radically different because of one word:
She called him Martin. And I found myself exhale a breath releasing Dr. King from the pedestal I had placed him on. His life and legacy had become an icon in which I had allowed his humanness to dissolve from. In that moment, I realized how much I needed him to be human; to be flawed.
As I watched I saw a story weaved together of a man. Yes, the speeches were there, the influence and authority he walked in were present. But more strikingwas the man with flaws and weakness, doubts and faith, laughter and heartbreak, success and failure, morality and immorality, driven and tired.
There he was, the husband, the friend, the father, the leader and the man, who just like all of us, would be held accountable for his words and actions, his silence and stagnation, in front of the throne of the One who had placed that dream inside.
After watching Selma I felt like I was left wanting more. And I can’t decide if the more I wanted was deeper development of the story being told or more from us.
More than just heartbreak, blogs and conversations from the continuing violence, racism and ideology that perpetuates the injustices blatantly in our faces.
In the end, I guess it doesn’t matter if the movie was developed to the fullest potential I longed for, as it is are we as a society, as followers of Christ, being fully developed in what He desires us to be?
Are we thinking, acting and engaging in the plague of racism, violence and injustice against people of color as He desires us to?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more than just an excellent orator. He was beyond the classification of a motivational speaker. He was a man of conviction. He was a man of movement. What I love about the choices he made, the battles he fought, the protests he engaged in, was they were birthed from vision. More than just seeing the present day struggle, he saw the long-term vision of what was not as though it were. He saw a future that has yet to exist.
“Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.” Proverbs 29:18 (Amplified Bible)
I realize that my wanting at the end of the movie was an ache for his life to still be unfolding, his voice to still be ringing and his dream to be ripping down the lines that still divide and worse, bring death. I needed to see Dr. King as Martin because I had to see someone who had fallen and failed. I needed to see the disappointment of a wife. I needed to see that he was a regular person who had been called to do extraordinary things. I needed to see that though he fell, he stood back up and continued marching in the direction of justice, mercy, love, forgiveness and the will of God.
You see, I had to understand that if Martin could do it, what is stopping me and you?
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment”
I Have a Dream Speech
delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.