Monday, January 18, 2016

Justice, service, and MLK

By Sister Rejane Cytacki

As Martin Luther King Day comes to a close, I find myself reflecting.  Where I minister at the University of Saint Mary (USM), today we integrated two activities today: prayer and service. Starting with a lunchtime prayer service, we remembered and listened to excerpts of his “I Have a Dream” speech.

So much of what he said in 1963 still applies to our issues of today. Just as fear and hatred ran strong in Martin’s time, so, too, in our own. Racism is alive and well from Ferguson to Mizzou, and we need groups like Black Lives Matter to keep the issues in front of us.  Martin implored us to strive for the day “. . . when all God’s children, black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands . . .”   Today, I think Martin would further expand that list of all God’s children to include so many other groupings of people including refugees.  This week, I learned that Kansas’ governor has issued an executive order halting any refugees from being resettled in our state. While I was appalled and immediately called the governor’s office in protest, Martin Luther King reminds me to still have hope and faith and continue to work towards the freedom for all human beings:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King also said, “What are you doing for others?” 

In 1994, President Clinton signed into law the National Martin Luther King Day of Service. We took 18 USM students to a local nursing home facility to visit and play games with senior citizens. It was wonderful to see the shared smiles and laughter between the seniors and the students. Service breaks through people’s isolation, loneliness, and fear and lets the light of love shine through.

To what does your remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr., call you?

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