We all have dreams, ambitions, and goals for our lives. Some of us have written “bucket lists”. We think of things we’d like to do, and perhaps people we’d like to do them with. God wants us to expand our dreams.
I didn’t really plan this intersection, but the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day I spoke on the topic of “Love Your Neighbour.”
We all have dreams, ambitions, and goals for our lives. Some of us have written “bucket lists”. We think of things we’d like to do, and perhaps people we’d like to do them with.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus challenges us to expand our dreams.
At times, we can get so caught up in “loving one another” (Jn 13:34) that we fail to raise our vision outside ourselves. God’s mission isn’t neat. God is holy and pure, but his mission is messy. If we’re going to join God’s mission we’re going to find ourselves with people who need rescue, not just with those who God’s already rescued.
Children of God experience so much of God’s love and grace, but what will we do with these blessings? Will we sit around congratulating ourselves that God loves us, or will we allow God to use us in spreading his love and grace into a hurting world? Will we sit on our pew and criticize the world “out there”, or will we work to make a difference? Will we highlight hurt, or will we provide healing?
Sadly we often spend more time pointing at problems than loving those people.
What are your dreams? We all have some sort of dreams and ambitions don’t we? Meet the right person? Find the right job? Fund my retirement? Travel? See my Grandchildren? Pay off my mortgage? Get out of school?
Jesus’ dreams featured making the lives of others better. In Jesus’ dreams he died for me. He also died and for you. Do you have a dream? Do you have a dream not only for your own life, but for the life of your community, for the lives of your neighbours? Do your dreams include your friends? Do your dreams include the Samaritans in your life? The people you don’t like, or the people you don’t care about?
Loving our neighbours means including Samaritans in our dreams. It means making our neighbourhood, our community, our world a better place for everyone.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Do this and you will live.
The life of Martin Luther King demonstrates what it means to include your neighbours in your dreams. Here are some of his famous speeches and writings.
The full version of King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
The following is excerpts from Dr King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and will take about 10 minutes to listen to. But you need to listen. Here is dispassionate discourse. Here is why Dr King was, and is, necessary. The person reading is not King. The images are commentary on the text. Please do yourself a favor and take the time to listen and watch.
The full recording of Dr King’s final speech before his death in Memphis. “I Have Been to the Mountaintop.”