Cosmic companionship: in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
I know Black History Month is over and Martin Luther King, Jr. day was weeks ago but belatedly I would like to honor his legacy by quoting at length a remarkable passage from one of his essays. Whenever I despair about the state of the world and the immensity of human cruelty, these words inspire me to hope, and remind me that such hope cannot be based upon faith in human goodness, but only the power of God's love:
In recent months I have also become more and more convinced of the reality of a personal God. True, I have always believed in the personality of God. But in past years the idea of a personal God was little more than a metaphysical category which I found theologically and philosophically satisfying. Now it is a living reality that has been validated in the experiences of everyday life. Perhaps the suffering, frustration and agonizing moments which I have had to undergo occasionally as a result of my involvement in a difficult struggle have drawn me closer to God. Whatever the cause, God has been profoundly real to me in recent months. In the midst of outer dangers I have felt an inner calm and known resources of strength that only God could give. In many instances I have felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope. I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. Behind the harsh appearances of the world there is a benign power. To say God is personal is not to make him an object among objects or attribute to him the finiteness and limitations of human personality; it is to take what is finest and noblest in our consciousness and affirm its perfect existence in him. It is certainly true that human personality is limited, but personality as such knows no necessary limitations. It simply means self-consciousness and self-direction. So in the truest sense of the word, God is a living God. In him there is feeling and will, responsive to the deepest yearnings of the human heart: thus God both evokes and answers prayers.I find it truly remarkable that a man who bore the brunt of such immense injustice could continue to affirm the benign nature of God.
("Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," in I Have a Dream)