I went to the daily eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston last Thursday, January 15. It was Martin Luther King’s birthday, which the Episcopal Church observes as a feast day.
The Rev. Rhoda Montgomery was the preacher that day, and while she apologized for the informality of her remarks she said something that will stick with me for a long time. She said that there is a marker in front of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the motel where Martin Luther King was shot, that is inscribed with words from the Book of Genesis. “You might expect something like an excerpt from his ‘I have a dream’ speech,” she said. “You might expect the words that are on his tombstone: ‘Free at last.’ But what is written on that marker is a verse from the story of Joseph in Genesis, where his brothers say, ‘Behold, here cometh the Dreamer. Let us slay him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams’ (Genesis 37:19-20).”
I’m grateful for Martin Luther King and what he stood for. I will find a quiet moment in this day to say thank you. But today I find myself even more grateful for the fact that dreams are hard to kill, that more than forty years after Martin Luther King was struck down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel his dream is alive. It reminds me of another dreamer who was struck down in his prime, one who used to pray that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I wonder what will become of that dream.