So many of our forebearers used to sing about freedom. And they dreamed of the day that they would be able to get out of the bosom of slavery, the long night of injustice. (Yes, sir) And they used to sing little songs: “Nobody knows de trouble I seen, nobody knows but Jesus.” (Yes) They thought about a better day as they dreamed their dream. And they would say, “I’m so glad the trouble don’t last always. (Yeah) By and by, by and by I’m going to lay down my heavy load.” (Yes, sir) And they used to sing it because of a powerful dream. (Yes) But so many died without having the dream fulfilled.
And each of you this morning in some way is building some kind of temple. The struggle is always there. It gets discouraging sometimes. It gets very disenchanting sometimes. Some of us are trying to build a temple of peace. We speak out against war, we protest, but it seems that your head is going against a concrete wall. It seems to mean nothing. (Glory to God) And so often as you set out to build the temple of peace you are left lonesome; you are left discouraged; you are left bewildered.
Well, that is the story of life. And the thing that makes me happy is that I can hear a voice crying through the vista of time, saying: “It may not come today or it may not come tomorrow, but it is well that it is within thine heart. (Yes) It’s well that you are trying.” (Yes it is) You may not see it. The dream may not be fulfilled, but it’s just good that you have a desire to bring it into reality. (Yes) It’s well that it’s in thine heart.
I don’t know if Barack Obama will win the nomination or become President, but the fact that he can run as a viable candidate and gain not just black votes but white votes is testament to the power of a dream. That there are still significant pockets of the country that won’t vote for him because he’s black tells us that Dr. King’s dream remains as yet unfulfilled.
And this brings me to the basic point of the text. In the final analysis, God does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives. In the final analysis, God knows (Yes) that his children are weak and they are frail. (Yes, he does) In the final analysis, what God requires is that your heart is right. (Amen, Yes) Salvation isn’t reaching the destination of absolute morality, but it’s being in the process and on the right road. (Yes)
May we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King today, by attending to the path he pioneered five decades ago.