I have a dream. It is not original. It was articulated so well by Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe it also resides in the heart of God.
“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children…. It would be fatal for our nation to overlook the urgency of the moment…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 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 that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” —Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington, D.C., 1963.
Words of hope. Words of freedom. Words of love. Words of life. Isn’t it time our nation hears these words again? We must write these words on hearts that have turned to stone, that the fire of these words might melt our hearts and help us to listen once again to the voice of the Spirit, even the voice of God, and hew together a stone of hope.
Our nation has come so far, but we still have miles to go on the path toward freedom and justice. God loves all men, English speaking and Spanish speaking, black and white, red, yellow, brown, and blue. I think it is time to add that all men and women are created equal. Pornography is rampant, in which men and women created in the image of God are seen as nothing more that sex objects for others gratification and profit. Young girls and boys are being bought and sold as sex slaves. How can America tolerate sex trafficking? When human beings are seen only as a commodity to be bought and sold, we have a long way to go to live into Martin Luther King’s dream for America.
One more addition to the speech that must be made in American today is that the unborn and newly born must be added to the list of God’s children that deserve our respect, deserve our protection, and deserve the right to live and be free. These are our nation’s most vulnerable girls and boys. Like too many others in the past, we have allowed them to be dehumanized through our use of language. We call them “fetuses” and “bundles of cells.” But the truth is that they are human beings, created equal, created in the image of God. There are now those who seek to dehumanize babies that have been born, in order to take their lives. This must stop. This is not the American dream of freedom and justice for all.
I have a dream that one day freedom will ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, and the day will come when all God’s children, black and white, male and female, born and unborn, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Written by The Rt. Rev. Dr. J. Mark Zimmerman. Bishop Zimmerman is bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest (ACNA).