“I have a dream.” These four words, uttered by Dr. Martin Luther King on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, have shaped my life in more ways than I can describe. I wish I could say that my parents were with him on that historic day. At the time they had their hands full with our family. Their eldest daughter had presented them with their first grandchild. They were raising a teenager and two toddlers. If they had known what an historic moment the March on Washington would become, they might’ve traveled there to hear Dr. King speak.
Still, they embraced his words as they began to invest in their daughters’ future. We grew up to be an actress, an administrative assistant, a physician and a professor who then answered the call to ministry. My parents did all that they could to ensure that my sisters and I could achieve the dreams and goals we had for our lives. That doesn’t mean it was easy.
My sisters and I all struggled to succeed. Some of the barriers before us were of our own making. Other pitfalls and detours occurred because we dared to make a difference and to be the new voice, inviting others to see the world through our eyes.
Our Lord called me to service in another way. I don’t consider the ministry as my second career. All that has come before has been in preparation for the journey we now share. Because I also have a dream. My dream comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 22: 37-40. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I still dream for a better world, built on a foundation of love. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech encouraged the people who accompanied him on a journey to Washington, D. C. to create new ways of being in relationship with each other, just as the Greatest Commandment calls us to love God and one another with our entire selves. This is what I hope for each of us as I celebrate Dr. King’s message and legacy. May we one day live out what it means to truly embrace each other with God’s love at all times and in all ways. And Amen.