THE COMMITMENT OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR~ Do You Have the Courage To Do This?

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I vaguely remember Martin Luther King, Jr. Now that I’m chasing sixty-years, I regret not knowing more about him and the principles he taught. Principles for which he died.

He was a man of his time, and yet a man before his time. The wisdom he taught, if heeded, would truly make this country great. Mr. King lived by his beliefs and asked others to do the same. Below is a Commitment card that everyone who volunteered for him had to sign. I have a feeling that signing this pledge wasn’t blithely done. Notice the space where the volunteer had to list the nearest relative.

I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention. BUT I am now. And I for one am going to sign this card.

Commitment Card

Martin Luther King, Jr.
1963

I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.

3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10.Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

Name____________________

Address__________________

Phone___________________

Nearest Relative___________

Address__________________

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BE STILL AND “KNOW”

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When I was a little girl I had a parakeet named Butch. He was green with a yellow head. I loved that bird. In fact, I love birds of all kinds. Every day I would stick my hand in his cage and hold out my finger. He’d step on it and ride out. I’d move him to my shoulder and he’d hop on and stay there most of the day. When I washed my hands he’d sidestep down my arm and play in the water. When I ate lunch he’d help himself to whatever I was eating. Then, at the end of the day, I took him back to his cage. He stepped on my finger, rode it inside and hopped on his perch. For the rest of the night, he chatted with and kissed the reflection in his mirror.

Fast forward through the years. One morning I heard a horrible commotion behind the glass of my fireplace. It looked like an ash tornado in there. I opened the doors to see a little bird. It must have fallen down the flue. I spoke in my quietest voice and reached inside. That bird went ballistic. It nearly knocked its little brains out flying from side-to-side, up and down trying to escape. I kept saying, “Be still!” Finally, I caught it, took it to the door, and set it free.

Now what is the difference between these birds? Butch knew me. We had a relationship. The little wild bird only knew one thing—his life was out of control, he perceived he was in danger, and he was going to do something about it.

For the past three weeks I’ve been meditating on the a phrase found in the Psalms, “Be still, know I am God. This admonition is given by the God of Jesus Christ. When He said to be still, He is asking us to let go. To surrender. That isn’t always easy is it? Sometimes it is hard to let go of that worry, to let go of all the things that make our souls twist up in knots, and to quiet our minds in this loud world.

God understands this. That is why the emphasis is put on the second word, know. Knowing the heart, the character, the nature of God gives us a calm confidence. A relationship with God is the same as a relationship with a new friend. It takes time  together to know someone. Relationships grow over time. Light is shed on misconceptions, trust is built, understanding deepens.

The unexpected bonus is that as we grow to know God, we begin to know ourselves. We realize we are worthy of love. And then we recognize that value in others. Even those we disagree with. Neat huh?

May your 2013 be blessed beyond what you can think or even imagine. May it be one of a still and confident mind that comes from truly knowing God.