Do you have a dream?

Published 6:37 pm Friday, January 13, 2012

By Chris Surber

When we neglect our history, we become enslaved to the mistakes of the past. I am a student of all kinds of history, but none fascinates me more than the history of my own land.

Whether I am pouring over a record of American church history, driving past a Civil War monument and telling my wife one more time that “I’ve got to go read those inscriptions,” or visiting an important site in the civil rights movements, I am enthralled by the movements and shaping of a people so richly diverse.


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Nearly 10 years ago, my wife and I spent a weekend in Memphis. Walking Beale Street was great, but taking in the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was life changing.

Never before had the struggle for racial equality and the need for racial reconciliation in our land been so real to me than when I fixed my own eyes upon the still-bloodstained cement where this great preacher, leader and visionary was removed from this world.

History is more than dust-covered books. Our history is the story of us. It is the account of how we came to be who we are. Its story reverberates in us all. Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed all of his tomorrows in order to give us a better today. He lived out his own admonition that “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

History is often about remembering the ugliness of this world, but not so that we can despair. No, its story teaches us to remember the love of those who gave us a greater tomorrow.

Dr. King once said, “At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

Love, forgiveness and hope are the greatest forces for social change, because they affect society at the level of the individual. They transform our volition, our desires. They alter our minds and influence our will.

Society’s realities are the consequence of the dreams of individuals who are willing to dream about what the future might be — what individual people could become.

King also said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

My friends, if we learn or are reminded of anything of merit this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us be reminded that the world needs visionary leaders who are willing to transform society at the level of themselves, their families, their communities and their societies.

What dream of a better tomorrow do you have today? How much are we willing to love, and what are we willing to sacrifice to make it tomorrow’s reality?