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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chris Farrell Jan 19, 2009

A day off for the holiday.

There is so much to learn from King. In one of his last sermons, a month before he was assassinated, he gave a talk called “Unfulfilled Dreams.” In it, he reminded people that we start out building temples, “temples of character, temples of justice, temples of peace,” he said.

And so often we don’t finish them. Because life is like Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.” At so many points we start, we try, we set out to build our various temples. And I guess one of the great agonies of life is that we are constantly trying to finish that which is unfinishable. We are commanded to do that. And so we, like David, find ourselves in so many instances having to face the fact that our dreams are not fulfilled.

The temple is a bit more complete with tomorrow’s historic Presidential inaugeration.

In another speech not long afterwards, King wondered aloud what he would want said at his funeral. “The answer King gave was a catalog of the moral principles he held most dear, and by which he hoped to be judged,” observe Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis in their radio documentary, ‘King’s Last March.’ ‘I’d like somebody to mention…that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others,’ King said. Remember “that I tried to be right on the war question… that I did try to feed the hungry!” King continued:

If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.

You can listen to King’s speeches, and learn much more about his last year, by listening to “King’s Last March,” an American Radio Works documentary.

I’ll be back answering your questions tomorrow.

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