Today as Barack Obama accepts the nomination of his Democratic party to be the President of the USA, I am reminded that 45 years ago today Martin Luther King made his famous "i have a dream" speech. It is a pity though that the first part of that speech is so often forgotten. Even today his rallying cry for the urgency of justice is so relevant.
He reminded the people gathered of the "fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. "
"But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
I believe the mesage is as much pertinent today as it was in 1963. Not only is there an urgency about seeking justice in so many parts of the world and for so many peoples of the world but also for seeking that same justice in ways that are non-violent and respectful of the dignity of all God's people.
Even our own chapter document cries out .... "The time is now! The place is here! You are the people!"