Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. to Leave Footprints by Senate Chaplain Barry Black - Living Strong Television Network
Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. to Leave Footprints by Senate Chaplain Barry Black

From HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Bible Gateway’s parent company, comes a six-session video Bible study based on the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In Share the Dream, you will look at 6 biblical principles that shaped Dr. King’s life and motivated him to speak out in the Civil Rights Movement: love, conscience, freedom, justice, perseverance, and hope. Below is commentary from United States Senate Chaplain Barry Black, who is featured in the video portion of the Share the Dream Bible Study.

I am excited about the Share the Dream Bible Study and how it will help individuals benefit from the amazing gift of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the great American poet, wrote a wonderful poem, A Psalm of Life. He ended that poem by saying this, and it is apropos when you are thinking about the impact of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Lives of great men all remind us we can live our lives sublime and departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.” Martin left footprints and has inspired me, and I hope will inspire others to leave footprints on the sands of time.


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Martin Luther King Jr

Martin King inspired me to leave footprints on the sands of time because his life made an indelible impression on me. I was a teenager when he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington DC, that great march where some 250,000 people gathered and heard him say so many things that influenced the progress of the Civil Rights movement.

One of the things he said that made an indelible impression on my life was we are as human beings wrapped in a blanket of mutuality and tied to a single garment of destiny. I had not come face to face with a white person when Martin King made his I Have a Dream speech. It would not be until a few years later that I would actually shake hands with a white person. But his reminder that we as human beings are wrapped in a blanket of mutuality and tied to a single garment of destiny made an indelible impact on my life, inspiring me to try to walk in his footsteps.

But it was not just the words of his speech. I have been inspired by his life to try to leave some footprints. I would watch on television as he would go to jail for what he believed. He was a man who had a PhD and had all kinds of other options, and yet he said, “Those who haven’t found something worth dying for are not fit to live.” Martin inspired me by his words, but also by his example, to strive to leave laudable footprints.

And then Martin exemplified in the living of his life qualities that have made such a powerful impact on me. He lived manifesting the quality of excellence and encouraged others to do so, so to live with excellence. He said, “Whatever job you do, do it so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn couldn’t do it better.” He said, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo carved marble, sweep streets like Raphael painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, and like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Martin emphasized the quality of excellence, but he emphasized the quality of agape love. He said in a speech at Drew University, “I’m glad God didn’t tell me to like people or command me to like people, he said love.” He said there are three words in the Greek word for love, there is eros, which is romantic. It’s the love of Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee with an affection surrounded by a halo of eternity. And then there’s phileo, from which we get our Philadelphia, the phileo, friendship, adelphos, brother, city of Brotherly love. It is a reciprocal love. We love because we are loved.


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But he said, when Jesus of Nazareth said, love your enemies, he was talking about agape love. Agape in the Greek is understanding, creative, redemptive, goodwill for humanity. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Martin would say it is the love of God operating in the human heart, so his qualities of love and of excellence, but also of service transformed my life and inspired me to attempt to leave laudable footprints.

He said about service, “If any of you are around when it comes my time to meet my day,” this was his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church before he was assassinated. “If you are around, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get someone to deliver the eulogy, tell him or her not to talk too long. Tell him or her not to mention that I won a Nobel Peace Prize and many other awards. I want somebody to be able to say in that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to live his life serving others.” Agape love, living with excellence, and service for others.

I sometimes find myself asking, in these challenging times, what would Martin Luther King say and what would Martin Luther King do? I think he would continue to be that drum major for justice and that drum major for truth and that drum major for righteousness. And as he ended his sermon, his final sermon at Ebenezer, he would be striving, as he said, to help somebody as he passed along, to cheer somebody with a word or a song, to show somebody he or she is traveling wrong, so that his living would not be in vain.

The reverberations of his I Have a Dream speech would be manifested in his life. “I have a dream that one day on the Red Hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down at the 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 brotherhood. I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their characters.” And I believe he would live in such a way that we would be inspired by his life to hasten the day when all of God’s children, black and white, red and yellow, brown, will be able to join hands and say, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

On June 27, 2003, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret.) was elected the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate. He began working in the Senate on July 7, 2003. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Chaplain Black served in the U.S. Navy for over twenty-seven years, ending his distinguished career as the Chief of Navy Chaplains.


DOWNLOAD A FREE 5-DAY SHARE THE DREAM DEVOTIONAL FROM BIBLE GATEWAY HERE


Dr. King and the men and women around him were able to change history through the power of a dream that was not rooted in mere human principles. That dream was rooted in the love of God for all his children made in his image.

Share the Dream™ is a six-session video Bible study (streaming code included) based on the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each session revolves around one of the biblical principles that shaped Dr. King’s life and motivated him to speak on behalf of African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement.

Be a part of the Share the Dream™ movement that’s helping a new generation understand, live, experience, and form a community around the unifying principles at the heart of the dream to which Dr. King dedicated his life.

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