It gives me faith in mankind that Martin Luther King Junior was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize within his own lifetime. I was aware that he had won the prize, but I did not know until today that he had lived to receive it. King appears to be full of wisdom and godly words when looked at through the lens of history, but I usually think that his message would not be treated seriously by the politicians of today. I think he would be considered a hopeless idealist and an extremist.
I've had a reservation about King that I've not mentioned until now. King speaks about building an incredible world; he casts a beautiful vision of a new world order. My cynicism and rational Lutheran temperament make me wary of such an ideal vision. I've been told since childhood that I live in a fallen world and that it will always be a fallen world. I know that at the end of days Jesus will gather all his people to himself and there will be no more mourning. I ache with desire for the day when God's kingdom will come. King challenges me to bring God's kingdom of brotherhood, peace, and unconditional love now, and not to wait for the end of days.
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Regardless of which ideas are appealing or unappealing to me, I ought to appraise King's vision based on the incredible fruit it bore and continues to bear. King changed my country; he changed the world. He has become a beckon of Gospel light that even atheists turn to for guidance and illumination. King believed that God was building his kingdom here on Earth every day. My skepticism doesn't empower me to change the world the way King did. Skepticism holds me back; I see that now, so it is time to leave skepticism behind. Whatever limits exist for God's kingdom on earth are God's business and not mine. There are enough real challenges without me inventing limits for myself and my fellow man. Anything is possible with God (Matthew 19:26), and so long as anything is possible I invite you to join me in building the kingdom of God that King spoke about, a place of brotherhood and unconditional love. Perhaps in our fallen world we cannot achieve perfection, but that's no reason to settle for the status quo. It's time, for me at least, to repent of cynicism and pursue an unrealistic vision for the world. May God's kingdom come on earth.