Dr. King a preacher first and foremost

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

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Zoom is great, but it just isn’t the same.

For another year, the Davie County NAACP chapter is holding its Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration via Zoom — the computer program that allows video meetings.

Sure, I’ll watch. Sure, I’ll be inspired.

But it won’t be the same.

Don’t forget that first and foremost, Dr. King was a preacher.

Members of the Davie County NAACP remember. Their celebration is always held in a church. And if you don’t leave that celebration feeling a little bit closer to God and with a bit more empathy for your fellow human beings, then, well, you may need to take a deep look inside of yourself.

On Monday, I’ll miss that frigid meeting on the square in Downtown Mocksville for a march to one of the local churches. I’ll miss the prayer that starts that walk, and the camaraderie shared by those involved.

I’ll miss watching young people holding a Dr. King sign and the Masons who lead that march. I’ll miss the singing that almost always breaks out along the way.

I’ll miss the packed church. It doesn’t matter which one, they’re always packed with people shoulder to shoulder and others standing along the sides. They’re there to commemorate Dr. King’s life and legacy, but also to worship their Lord.

One thing we can all do on Monday is to read some of Dr. King’s writings. Be inspired, because his words today mean as much as they did when he said them in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating that absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”

“The quality, not the longevity of one’s life, is what is important.”

“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

“Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, ‘Love or perish.’ Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

And my favorite for today’s times.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Amen, Dr. King.

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise Record.