Above all, a Christian witness

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If an outside observer were to ask, "Which is the real [Martin Luther King Jr.]? Is it the body on the balcony, or the rising spirit of a great-souled leader?" today the church of God responds, "It is the spirit rising. The spirit of King endures not only in the memory of the nation but, like all the saints, in the kingdom of heaven." For the truest end of humankind is not survival but the blessedness that sees God. He lit a candle for us all by witnessing to a more excellent way. The word martyr means "witness," the ultimate witness. When he was alive, America sorely needed Martin Luther King's amazing energy. Now that he is dead, we are nourished by his martyrdom because martyrs give us hope. MARTYRDOM IS GOD'S CONTINUING PROJECT, and martyrs, as an ancient theologian said, are the seed of the church. Which means we don't have to pretend that one man, now dead more years than he was granted to live, has the answer to every problem of the 21st century. Because God continues to raise up prophets, we don't have to anoint another Martin Luther King or lay his impossible mantle on any one person -- not on Mandela, Tutu or Obama.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Richard Lischer,

Published Date

  • 2008

Published In

  • News & Observer

Start / End Page

  • A.15 -

Published By

Place of Publication

  • Raleigh, N.C