|Photo By: David Dixon|
Eulogy For The Martyred Children is the shortest speech yet included in A Call To Conscience, so if you haven't read any of of King's speeches, I encourage you to at least read this one. King delivered this eulogy at the funeral service of three children who fell victim to the bombing of a church. I have never been to the funeral service of a child. A classmate of mine took his life when I was in high school but I'm certain that I cannot imagine the pain a parent feels at the death of a child. King understood that no words could properly console the families after so great a loss and kept his message short.
Although it was brief, the eulogy was thick with the strong and unyielding hope that King wove into all of his sermons. While condemning the actions of hateful men he exhorted listeners to hold tight to hope, saying:
“We must not become bitter (Yeah, That’s right), nor must we harbor the desire to retaliate with violence. No, we must not lose faith in our white brothers. (Yeah, Yes) Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality.”(King 1963)
His unyielding admonishment to cling to hope, even in the wake of these racially motivated murders is astounding. I am not that good a person. I know that I become bitter and can harbor a desire to retaliate with violence when I feel powerless. I believe the secret to King's endurance was that he absolutely depended on God to be the one to work out a final victory. That kind of dependence is something I'm still learning; I pray I get there. I pray we all get there.
Photo By: slagheap
“And so my friends, they did not die in vain. (Yeah) God still has a way of wringing good out of evil. (Oh yes) And history has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive.” (King 1963)