If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long… Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school… say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered many speeches and sermons in his short time in the national spotlight. Certainly, his words will be forever enshrined in print, audio, and even electronic materials. I have been to the mountaintop, I Have a Dream, Beyond Vietnam, How Long Not Long, are only a few titles was well known speeches and sermons delivered by him. Each of them are inspiring with a very sharp edge if you are paying attention. I think about the world in which we now live – some 84 years after his birth – there is one speech by Dr. King is both timely and powerful.
“It is also midnight within the moral order. At midnight colors lose their distinctiveness and become a sullen shade of gray. Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. For modern man, absolute right and wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes…”
In listening to the words of this sermon, I could not help but think how prophetic he was. His words are still very relavent today and I want to leave you words he spoke that night that should stir something deep within our souls today.
If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority….But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace.