Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that
Martin Luther King 1968
Some of you may be aware that January the 18th 2021 is dubbed as ‘blue Monday’. The third Monday in January is often thought to be the most difficult day of the year and that’s in an ‘ordinary’ year. During the covid-19 pandemic we have collectively faced growing challenges, a long winter, political and social unrest and an increased sense that we don’t have quite as much control as we once thought.
It would be tempting to sink into this blue Monday with a sense of hopelessness, however today also celebrates someone (and something) different. In the United States January 18th 2021 is Martin Luther King Day.
Dr Martin Luther King was one of the foremost leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, perhaps best known for his speech ‘I Have a Dream’. Dr King is still regarded as one of the greatest moral leaders in American history, his life defined by his deep Christian faith, his love of Jesus and the lasting impact on the pursuit of equality and freedom for all people. We know that this work hasn’t been completed but we celebrate the life of a man who ran after justice and truth, inspiring us to continue those works. Dr King said: “we refuse to believe the bank of justice is bankrupt” going on to say “now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children”. Yes and amen.
Dr King was constant in his message of hope and accountability for the church, in what appeared to be (and still is in many ways) a hopeless earthly situation. Yet, they carried on. If you can spare the 17 minutes to watched the video of the ‘I have a Dream’ speech (which we highly recommend) you will see the opening is a recording of corporate singing of ‘we shall overcome, one day’. We hope and pray that this is a reminder to you, that whatever we face, although all too real and painful, one day will fade out of view.
The Christian belief is that one day, through Jesus, we too shall overcome:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4)
Today, we echo the prayer of Dr King, and countless others, in quoting the book of Amos: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream”. Let hope rise among us as a people of God as we celebrate what is possible in a life following the One who knows what suffering and victory truly look like. In loving our Lord and neighbours we have the key to unlocking the joy and strength we're promised in scripture.
Like many of us today you may need an injection of hope. We suggest you have a look at The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer. This project is aiming to capture a million stories of hope, celebrating the marvellous and wonderful works of God in His people. They will be hosted on an interactive sculpture, twice the size of the Angel of the North. So far, over 25,000 answered prayers have been submitted. On January 25th they will be running a social media campaign aimed at getting people to share their answered prayers and inviting 3 friends to do the same. You can follow them on the handle @eternalwalluk and use the hashtags #makehopevisable and #answeredprayerchallenge to get involved in the campaign.
We pray that this Monday will be full of hope and technicolor for you. Even if it isn’t we pray that you have a sense of being seen, known and loved by the God who threw the stars into the sky. On this Martin Luther King Day we continue to follow his example in loving God, serving our neighbour and believing for a better tomorrow. Through this, in some way, we will be able to turn our worst days into our best.