Like many, I, too, was somewhat put-off by the sculpture of Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
The sculpture of Dr King, which is at the new memorial, seems not to resemble Dr King. This visual representation of Dr King, standing, with his arms crossed, is not one I have seen before, in photographs, and it makes him appear the opposite of what he was: a man of great love, compassion, and humility.
But, in my contemplation of the sculpture, I now see why Dr King is represented as he is, although I am unaware of the artist’s intentions. Dr King’s image, here, represents a firmness of conviction, a dedication to the work of peace and justice, and a confidence in the future victory in which love implements the demands of justice.
Dr King’s image, to me, appears to be leading us, still, ever forward, in pursuit of peace and justice for all peoples, and in pursuit of victory. As King once said, the night before he was murdered, “I may not get there with you, but I have been to the mountain top, and I have seen the promised land!”
The sculpture of Dr King portrays the image of a man who is not joyous, as though he is seeing the victory: a promised land of peace and justice in America. Rather, his expression is stern, as though he is not-at-all a happy man. And why should he be? Were he alive today he would be furious with a righteous indignation.
Dr King, in 1967, spoke out against America’s ONE war: Vietnam. What would he say/do today, knowing America is presently engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Libya? And soon to be engaged in Syria and Iran?
What would he think of us? Those who have his words, and his message, but who, apparently, lack the integrity and the courage of conviction to stand up for what’s right and DEMAND peace and justice NOW?!
I think Dr King, if he were to visit us today, would weep, much like Jesus wept over Jerusalem after national Israel finally, officially, rejected him, as well as all the prophets God had sent to them. King would weep over us and our rejection of him and his message of love, peace, justice, and brotherhood. He would lament what we have become: a nation more concerned with material possessions and profit than we are with people and justice.
But unlike national Israel, whom Jesus proclaimed was abandoned and forsaken by God – actualized in the Roman destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD, America – and Americans – still have the time, and the opportunity, to repent; to turn things around: 180 degrees.
If King would do or say any one thing today I think he would do this: give us all a swift rhetorical kick in our collectively apathetic behinds and tell us to: “Get to work! Start making the dream a reality!”
If we fail to heed the message of Dr King for America today – to seek peace and justice – we will lose everything, just like national Israel did when they rejected Christ. America will become a living hell, as though it’s not become a living hell already, for many millions of Americas today.
Shame on us for allowing America to become what she has become! Shame on us all! Repentance and humility are in order, immediately, before it’s too late, if America is to survive at all. If we choose to continue walking in self-righteous arrogance and pride, as the Jewish Pharisees once did, we, too, will suffer the same fate as national Israel: rejection and abandonment by God, our heavenly Father, who, though he is long-suffering with us, will not restrain his anger forever. If America doesn’t repent of it’s wickedness America will reap what it has sown: destruction at the hands of our enemies, just like Israel.