Richard Lischer had this to say about Martin Luther King’s collected sermons:
“In these sermons King tells the truth about the sins of racism, idolatry, militarism and violence. As Desmond Tutu puts it, he is not afraid to look the beast in the eye. Yet he does so in a way that is remarkably generous towards his enemies. Where it is possible to ‘explain’ racism as a symptom of fear of some other psychological or cultural disorder, he does so. He often takes time to understand and articulate the White Southerner’s anxiety in the face of change. He makes his judgements on racism and war against the backdrop of God’s profound love for the world, a theological awareness which lends to his sermons a brooding sense of pathos. In re-reading them one is reminded that the emotions most characteristic of a the prophet is not anger but sorrow. He tells the truth but rarely in bitterness of spirit and never with contempt for the Other. His truth-telling is pervaded by a sense of tragedy…although embroiled in many local conflicts, King never took his eye of cosmos and the universal fact of reconciliation. The victory he promises will be big enough to include victims and victimisers, the segregated and the segregators, in the beloved community. King fought as hard as anyone in America for new laws, but his sermons palpably yearn for the new thing that rises just beyond the law’s guarantees. And for King that new thing was the peculiarly American expression of God’s reconciliation of the world through Jesus Christ. ( p 160, f)
"What tangible, concrete, realistic signs and gestures of reconciliation can we as a Christian community give to our country, our community, our church, our family?
1) Be realistic – look the beast in the eye. This is Malaysia – neither paradise nor is it hell.
2) Tell the truth about ourselves, about the Other
3) Confess our sins
4) Offer signs and meaningful gestures of reconciliation
5) Best we could do may lie in us just wanting to reach out toward reconciliation. Which in the end must mark all that we say, and do as a person, as a church, as a community."
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Tony Lim's message was delivered at the end of 2006, but never more current than now. Here are some excerpts: