Monday, January 21, 2013

We Need a Faith and Justice Revival in Our Day

by Gregory A. Johnson

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'" (Revelation 7:9-10 ESV).

By New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in a day when those with dark skin did not have equality with those with white skin. The African American was not allowed to ride in the front of the bus with the European American. African Americans could not use the same restrooms. They could not eat in the same sections of the restaurants. The children could not play in the same playgrounds nor go to the same schools. They could not drink from the same water fountain. They could not even go to the same church. Slavery, a great sin of the nation, was over, but segregation and all of its inequalities remained in America. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, not everyone was free; many were bound by the injustices of racism. It is with that backdrop that a dream was birthed in an individual. Although that dream has not fully reached reality, it is burning intensely in the hearts of many in our day.

Dr. King lived his life in the belief of God’s rule that all people are created equal, and all people should be treated equally. This is the dream of justice driven by faith. It is the dream that God gave to Dr. King. It is the dream that God plants deep into the heart of citizens of the Kingdom.

It’s sad to say that not everyone is a proponent of equality for all. Not everyone is a proponent of justice driven by faith. In Dr. King’s nonviolent, faith-driven march toward justice in his day, he suffered much violence. His home was bombed; he was stabbed in Harlem; he was unjustly placed in jail many times; his life was taken by an assassin’s bullet. One of the greatest voices for faith and justice was violently silenced, but his God-given dream lives on in the hearts of many.

It was during the Montgomery bus boycott that Dr. King's house was bombed, and he was arrested. After his unjust conviction as a leader of the boycott, King was asked by reporter Joe Azbell of the Montgomery Advertiser, "Are you afraid?"

King answered: "I have always felt that ultimately along the way of life an individual must stand up and be counted and be willing to face the consequences whatever they are. And if he is filled with fear he cannot do it. My great prayer is always for God to save me from the paralysis of crippling fear, because I think when a person lives with the fears of the consequences for his personal life he can never do anything in terms of lifting the whole of humanity and solving many of the social problems which we confront in every age and every generation" (King 1956).

God gave Dr. King a dream for justice driven by faith and he had the courage to stand for it in his day no matter what the cost. May God give each of us that same dream and that same courage to stand up for what is right in our day.

We have come a long way, but we have a way to go for the dream to become reality. We must never give up, become satisfied, or be paralyzed in fear. There is much more work to be done, and we must courageously fight for race equality, gender equality, health equality, and economic equality in our day. It must happen in the church and in the home, branching out into the streets of society, flowing into the highways and the byways of life, streaming like a flood into the workplace, the schoolhouse, and the neighborhood. We need a faith and justice revival in our day!

Excerpted from the book, The Kingdom According to Jesus by Gregory A. Johnson. Copyright © by Gregory A. Johnson. All rights reserved.

Know that you are loved,