Second Reading – Dirkja
4 minutes for reading/intro and video is 4:43
The Stone of Hope
Speaking to the wounding of our nation on Jan. 6th John Paul Lederic looks to Dr. Martin Luther King ’s guiding pillars for ways to reverse the toxic dynamics of our collective life: to replace respect for dehumanization; responsibility for blame; and dialogue for violence.
King’s guiding pillars sustained commitment to the social contract while pursuing long sought change for equity and equality in the midst of deep division.
His first pillar referenced the deep soul’s despair that waiting for change was no longer an option. The ploys and pragmatism of politics kept placing true equality just out of reach, deferred to the next election or into potential new legislative goals. Promises no longer sufficed. “The sweltering summer,” as he called it, could no longer accept the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” This temporal pillar required such immediate action — and act they did and so must we — that he referred to it as the “fierce urgency of now.”
His second pillar constantly reminded people that the struggle for equality and dignity unfolds by way of a long and difficult pathway. So significant was this … challenge that in his words, now etched on a national monument, the movement must “hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” Hope requires patience and persistence precisely because “the arc of the moral universe is long,” even as “it bends toward justice.”
In the midst of the temporal tension playing out between the fierce now and the long arc, Dr. King’s vision never wavered in the third pillar: the commitment to nonviolence and appreciation for our ultimate interdependence. Over and again, his imagination captured the understanding that while the past carries forward profound violation of dignity and the present continues to humiliate and divide, our future is shared. Calling this out in his “I Have a Dream” speech, he noted that across racial divides “their freedom is inextricably bound with our freedom” followed by the shortest single sentence in the speech: We cannot walk alone.
These pillars offer the way forward into renewing our social contract and reversing toxic dynamics. Act on and walk into what you know to be true. Start local. Reach out beyond your comfort zone. Commit to nonviolence. Always protect the dignity of others. Walk together. In this the stone of hope is hewn.”
A Letter From John Paul Lederach , Senior Fellow at Humanity United, a foundation dedicated to bringing new approaches to global problems and Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame
Introduce extract from MLK sermon – Nancy
Washington’s National Cathedral on March 31, 1968. It was his last sermon.