I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events that surround us.
I refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war, that fellowship among all peoples is not possible.
I believe there is an urgent need for people to overcome oppression and violence, without resorting to violence and oppression.
I believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace, a way that rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.
The foundation of this way is love.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
I believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
I believe that what self-centered people have torn down, other-centered people can build up.
By the goodness of God at work within people, I believe that brokenness can be healed.
‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’
This is the affirmation, based on the writings of Dr King that we said at the end of the sermon at Riverside Church in NYC yesterday, April 6. In response to the “SUNDAY FOR CHANGE” call by Obama supporters, my non-practicing Jewish husband and I had trekked across to the West side of Manhattan for Sunday morning worship. We knew of the historical significance of the church, made more poignant by it being the death anniversary of Dr King.
A packed church witnessed a sermon that went to the very heart of what I believe religion is about – the call to justice. In a no-holds barred, honest and heartfelt sermon, Rev Robert Coleman, a white minister, recounted his experiences ministering in Chicago and told us about Rev Wright who he saw as being a prophetic visionary in the same mould as Dr King.
Rev Colemean challenged us at many levels. The story of a 9 year old boy who insisted that Rev Coleman drive him to his house which was only one block away. Reluctantly, Rev Coleman agreed. As they went around the block the boy asked if the reverend had any children. He replied that he had two sons, the eldest being 15. "I'll be dead by then," was the boy's response. We sat in hushed silence as Rev Coleman talked of the hopelessness of the boy growing up in an area riddled with gang warfare, drug and physical abuse. He contrasted this with another boy who was given daily tutoring with mentors who took an interest in him. One day, Rev Coleman found him in his office, swiveling in his chair. When the reverend asked him what he was doing, the boy's reply was "I want your job!" Don't we all want to be recognized? Don't we all want someone to believe in us? Don't we all need someone to ask how we are doing?