Isaiah 40:5-11 (King James Version)
5“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
9O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
Coretta Scott King rests today in the bosom of Abraham. According to Andrew Young she passed quietly from this life to the next at about one o’clock this morning.
Her passing brought to mind the man and the cause she married. I remember her husband’s stirring words from1963, which were to become enshrined as the rhetorical anthem for the civil rights movement in America. I can still feel the tears running down my face as I heard the cry for justice:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. ”I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”
For her husband, the dream was cut short of its realization. For Coretta, the dream continued after his passing, too often deferred. The Divine call for justice too often gave way to the self-serving tenor of the times. Rocky ground, it seems, resists the Maker’s plow.
Through it all, Coretta was “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” She was not a reed to be shaken in the wind. She had married a man and a cause. The man was taken, but the cause remained. It was that vision, more than anything else that united them. It was that vision that sustained her when he was taken.
At the most difficult of times she remembered that it was the Almighty who had energized them for the task and that their prayers would be answered. Knowing that, she was strengthened beyond measure:
“From that day on, I was fully prepared for my role as Martin's wife and partner in the struggle. There would be many more days of difficulty and worry, and there would be many more prayers. But the unwavering belief that we were doing God's work became a daily source of faith and courage that undergirded our freedom movement.”
So, today is a day of union and reunion for Martin and Coretta. They are united with the Author of the principles they embraced in this life. The peace and justice so often denied them in this life has been granted to them for all of eternity. And, Martin and Coretta have now been reunited with one another. They are resting in Abraham’s bosom.
There was something else that struck me today as I thought of the Kings and their lives of service now completed. They held fast to the principles they preached. They lived them. It’s a lesson we all would do well to re-learn today. We must do what is right and we must do it the right way:
“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
The earthly tasks God gave Martin and Coretta have been completed. We must now march on to complete the Divine tasks we’ve been given. As it has been proclaimed:
“With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.”
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