Though much is known about Martin Luther King Jr., not much is known of this “First Lady of Civil Rights.” For example, did you know that during their nonviolence civil rights campaign, she put together and performed at a series of Freedom Concerts all over the nation to raise money for their cause? Or that she became the first woman to deliver the Class Day address at Harvard and the first woman to preach at a statutory service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London? That she served as a Women’s Strike for Peace delegate in Geneva and that she became a liaison to international peace and justice organizations even before Dr. King took a public stand in 1967 against United States intervention in the Vietnam War? Did you know that she continued to serve her husband’s cause subsequent to his death and extended that cause throughout the world on goodwill missions to Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia? (If you’re interested in learning more about this brave woman, you can read her biography here)
Clearly, Coretta Scott King was a brave and passionate woman, and I think she was right when she said struggle is a never ending process and freedom is never really won. There will always be struggle for peace and struggle for power. These struggles occur on micro levels (in homes) and macro levels (in communities and nations).
We are always contributing to one side or the other- always working towards peace or towards power. It’s important to be aware of this, asking ourselves, “Is what I’m doing now empowering others or gaining power for myself? Is it working towards peace and collaboration or towards selfishness and division?” We need to be checking the money we spend, the words we use, the choices we make to see if we are working towards peace or our own power.
This is important because God created us not to have dominion over one another, but to be in relationship with one another. If we are not intentional about loving our brothers and sisters (who are our neighbors, who are our coworkers, who are our families, friends, and people of different races and religions) it is too easy to take advantage of the blessings God has given us and create a power differential that is not of God, that is not of love.
The terms “love” and “peace” are catchy and cliche, but they are also two words that characterize Christ’s work on this earth. We can choose to follow him and live lives of sacrifice, intentionality, and sisterhood- or we can follow our own way and live for power.
Which way will you choose?