-Peace – Zach Lysdahl
-Justice – Luke Soderstrom
-Liberation – Ron Radcliffe
-Service – Adam Lorenz
‘I have a dream.’
Four simple words that said in a specific context with the ability to transcend it. For a dream is more powerful than an ideal, more transformative than a slogan, more provocative than any one individual – for a dream invites us all to embody and to hope.
The world has been and is full with dreamers. With mothers and fathers, young and old, individuals like us and different from us, all who dream. All who have had to courage to articulate that hunch, that hope, that we are all called into some thing more.
Today, I have a dream.
I have a dream for peace…
A world without violence, where nations do not go to war, no genocide, no murder, no harm committed. A world where men are not insulted or scorned. A world where women are not objectified, treated as inferior or mistreated. A world where children are not abused, bullied, mocked, or enslaved. Oppression, subjugation, and racism would not be the experience of many. A world where mountains are not stripped of their heights, forests are not chopped down, rivers are not drained of water, and where air is not polluted.
Dilapidation, destruction, and wreckage would not come upon the environment. It wouldn’t only be a world void of harm. It would be a world where every person is honored, treated with respect and dignity. The environment would be treasured and cared for. It would be a world where everybody is somebody because they are a child of God and the environment would be respected.
… I have a dream.
I have a dream…
We must put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. All people are created equal; certainly we are all made in the image of God. But we live in a world with unjust laws and our brothers and sisters are disproportionally held down by these laws. Certainly we are all are running the same race but the starting lines are staggered. And some of our brothers and sisters are running barefoot on this track laden with glass. Certainly it’s a cruel joke to ask the bootless man to pull himself up by his bootstraps.
We live in a world where Lady Justice is blindfolded, she is blind to systematic oppression of our brothers and sisters. Held down by slavery, poverty, and hunger. We can no longer wash our hands of the things we see in this world, we can no longer bandage the those trapped under “the wheels of injustice” we are now to put “a spoke into the wheel itself.”
I dream that Love and faithfulness meet; that righteousness and peace kiss. I dream where everyone will have an equal opportunity at liberty and justice.
… I have a dream.
I have a dream for liberation.
I have a dream where the cares of others come before the cares of the me. Where no person on this earth could say, ‘No one cares about me. No one has asked about me. No one cares how I feel.’
But the interesting thing about this dream is that it relies on one person. One “I” “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Everything hinges on this “I”. This person. Not an idea, not a word, not a preacher, but this man Jesus. This man who suffered and knows all that we go through. This man Jesus, who is our Redeemer and our Liberator. There is nothing too hard or difficult that He can not free you from.
I have a dream where forgiveness is common and oppression is history. I have a dream where wealth and splendor are abundant and oppression is crushed. This dream does come at a cost, though. And it is not cheap. We must be willing to bear one another’s burdens. We must fight violence and oppression with love and forgiveness. We can’t just talk about liberation and freedom. We must make it a fact. We must be able to sacrifice our own wishes so that all people can be liberated. So that we can say ‘Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.’
… I have a dream.
I have a dream of service.
A move beyond left and right, fundamentalist and social justice, towards a community of Christ-likeness. A community of people who by their very lives make the living God, Jesus Christ known, in word and deed. Embodying both right belief and right living – through their blood, sweat and tears to and for the world.
This dream is of a great ‘cloud of witnesses’ living simply and radically – struggling over what it means to individually and systemically change how we think about poverty, human and civil rights, racial violence, peacemaking, and our government. Acknowledging where we have been but boldly step into future. A future where we take serious God’s proclamation that if He is anywhere, it is with the least of these.
Today, I have a dream.
We have a dream.
Of a world where heaven is crashing into earth. A dream of peace, justice, of liberation and of service. A dream that is not our own but of a people and of a God that asks us to cry out may it be here as it is there.
So today, will you dream with us?
Dorsey, B. Chris. Lectures for ‘Theologies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’. Western Theological Seminary: 1 & 15 April 2014.
Gree, Clifford J.. Bonhoeffer: A Theology of Sociality. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1999.
Jenkins, Willis and Jennifer M. McBride. Bonhoeffer and King: Their Legacies And Import For Christian Social Thought. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.
Kelly Geffrey B. and F. Burton Nelson, editors. A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. San Franciso: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990.
King Jr., Martin Luther. I have a dream, 28 August 1963.
Washington, James M., ed.. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr.. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1986.