“No matter how happy and healthy I am, there is a voice that calls me back to things that are not good for me, things that donâ€™t even bring me pleasure. Itâ€™s like eating an entire bag of Cheetos while youâ€™re watching a movie. You do not enjoy the last three fourths of the bag, but something tells you to keep eating. And you do.” (>>)
” ‘They see neighbors and friends being fired for no reason by profitable companies, executives making off like bandits while thousands of their own workers are being laid off… They see health insurance drying up, employer pensions shrinking. Promises to retirees of health benefits are simply thrown overboard. The whole system has aspects that seem grossly immoral to average working people.’ “
” ‘You know, I am not by nature a political person. I have gotten a lot of grief from some people, business owners, who say, ‘Father, why don’t you stick to religion?’ Well, pardon me – this is religion. The scripture is full of matters of justice. How can you worship a God that you do not see and then oppress the workers that you do see?’ “
” ‘…what kind of world do you want to live in?’ ” (>>)
“Back in room 306, King and Abernathy ordered a lunch of catfish and salads brought up from the dining room. Alas, the waitress arrived with the catfish all on one plate. Irritated, Abernathy started to send her back for another plate, but King intervened. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ he told Abernathy. ‘You and me can eat from the same plate.’ The catfish was delicious–one of their favorite dishes. As they shared their platter, King sampled both bowls of salad, eating out of Abernathy’s too…
“It was now six and time to go. As Kyles headed down to the parking lot, King stood at the iron railing by himself, facing a row of rundown buildings in some trees beyond Mulberry street. At that second, there was a report of a highpowered rifle, and a bullet tore into the right side of King’s face with such force that it drove him violently backward. He grasped for his throat, crumpling to the balcony floor with his feet prodruding through the bottom rail…
“With the organ groaning in the background, Abernathy intoned, ‘We gather here this morning in one of the darkest hours in the history of black people of this nation, in one of the darkest hours in the history of all mankind.’ The choir sang some of King’s favorite hymns–‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ and ‘In Christ There Is No East Nor West’–and Harold DeWolf gave the tribute. At Coretta’s request, Abernathy had a tape played of King’s own eulogy, ‘A Drum Major for Justice,’ given at Ebenezer the past February. Once again that mellifluous voice swept through the church, the church he had joined on another spring day thirty-four years before, the church in which he had been baptized and ordained to spread the gospel of his Christ. ‘But I just wanted to leave a committed life behind,’ his voice cried in the hushed sanctuary. ‘Then my living will not be in vain.’
“The pallbearers carried him out to a special hearse–a farm cart drawn by two mules, which symbolized his poor people’s campaign, his own last and greatest dream. Then with bells shattering the humid day and 120 million Americans watching on television, the cart started forward to the clop, clop of the mules, carrying Martin Luther King on his last freedom march, with Abernathy and his young aides–many of them dressed in the poor people’s uniform of faded jeans and overall jackets–moving beside and behind their fallen leader. Some 50,000 people toiled along behind the cart, suffering from the muggy heat as they passed thousands of muted onlookers, most of them black. The line of march led past the domed Georgia capital, where Lester Maddox was sitting in his office under a heavy guard. At last the great cortage reached the tree-shaded campus of Morehouse college, where King had discovered Thoreau and found his calling under the guidance and inspiration of Benjamin Mays. Now, at the portico in Harkness Hall, Mays gave the eulogy to King, to a man who had come preaching love and compassion and brotherhood rather than cynicism and violence; a man who, as a Negro, had had every reason to hate America but who had loved her passionatly instead and had sung of her glory and promise more eloquently than anyone of his generation, maybe of any generation.
” ‘We have assembled here from every section of this great nation and from other parts of the world to give thanks to God that He gave to America, at this moment in history, Martin Luther King, Jr.,’ Mays said. ‘Truly God is no respector of persons. How strange! God called the grandson of a slave on his father’s side and said to him: Martin Luther, speak to America about war and peace; about social justice and racial discrimination; about its obligation to the poor; and about nonviolence as a way of perfecting social change in a world of brutality and war.’
“But that world was behind him now, life’s restless sea was over. His anguished staff gathered round the coffin and prayed together for guidance and strength, their hearts breaking in this, their final farewell. Then his family, friends, and followers escorted him to South View Cemetary, blooming with fresh green boughs of spring, and buried him near his grandparents, near his Grandmother Williams who he loved so as a boy. On his crypt, hewn into the marble, were the words of the old slave spiritual he had quoted so often:
Free at last, free at last
Thank God Almighty
I’m free at last” (>>)
“why did i come?
oh why did i come here?
these people all suck
i’d rather be home feeling violent and lonely.” (>>)
“He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.” (>>)
“Reading all the healing stories together, I now detect in the gospels a kind of ‘ladder of faith.’ At the top of the ladder stand those people who impressed Jesus with bold, unshakable faith: a centurion, an impertinent blind beggar, a persistant Caananite woman. These stories of gristly faith threaten me, because seldom do I have such faith. I am easily discouraged by the silence of God. When my prayers are not answered I am tempted to give up and not ask again. For this reason I look down the ladder and find people of lesser faith, and it heartens me to learn that Jesus seemed willing to work with whatever tiny glimpses of faith came to light. I cling to the tender accounts of how Jesus treated the disciples who forsook and then doubted him. The same Jesus who praised the faith of those high up the ladder also gently quickened the flagging faith of his disciples. And I take special comfort in the confession of the father of a demon possesed boy, who said to Jesus, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ Even that wavering man got his request granted.” (>>)