MLK, non-violence, and our baptism into the power of love


This morning I’d like to share the Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I learned in church this weekend. King’s words still resonate, and his thoughts fit so well into our ongoing discussion of the nature of gospel-quality love, that I couldn’t let it go unreferenced, especially as today is MLK-Day.

“Do to us what you will and we will still love you… Throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour, drag us out, and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration, but we’ll still love you. We will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.” – MLK

POWER: We forget, all too easily, the amazing power of love to effect positive change, and we forget the moral authority that is gained from the consistent practice of non-violence.

Non-violence is another one of the indicators of the real man-hood that I alluded to in yesterday’s post (“Manly men – upending the false model“). We live in a culture where the hero routinely kills the bad-guys, or at least beats them within an inch of their lives; but gospel-quality love consistently choses another way.

I remember a conversation with a man a short time after the 9-11 attacks of 2001. “If I was the one to walk in on Osama bin Laden in a cave,” he said, “I pray I’d have what it takes to kill him right there.”

“I understand where you’re coming from,” I responded, “but as someone interested in disciple-making, I pray that you would have what it takes not to.”

IMG_7189BAPTISM: So on Sunday morning (during 11:15 worship at WFPC), when Rebekah had the privilege of baptizing three children, I couldn’t help but think – once again – about our commission to make disciples of Jesus, and about the phenomenal impact for good that this beautiful family will have because of their decision to say “Yes” to God, and a deliberate “No” to the endemic darkness.

Three small children, full of light and life and promise, moving forward from this point in a faith community where, “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

(For more on covenant baptism, read “I have Called You By Name…“)

TODAY: It’s another morning, on a day when the principle of non-violence and gospel-quality love is remembered around the nation. Why not ask the Holy Spirit to produce the Jesus kind of fruit in your life? Love, kindness, joy, kindness, peace, kindness, patience, kindness, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, kindness, and self-control.

Did I mention kindness?

the oldest takes a good look, as his sister receives the blessing
the oldest takes a good look, as his sister receives the blessing

As for me, I’m standing with the new WFPC family, and all their beautiful children, in the community of faith known as Wake Forest Presbyterian Church; and we’re all standing in the place where Joshua stood, when he made it clear where his allegiance rested:

“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

As for me, and my family – we choose Jesus. – DEREK 

See pics for entire sequence:

One thought on “MLK, non-violence, and our baptism into the power of love

  1. I have enjoyed reading your post. I think you made a very good point. Sometimes we totally forget the power of love. It’s comfortable for people to love those who love them and hard to love those who don’t. We necessitate to be just like God, we should be forgiven and show mercy. Great man Martin Luther King.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s