Wednesday, August 28, 2013


After watching news segments over the last number of days commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King "I have a dream" speech, I thought about how much we talk about the speech and how little we get to hear of it.  On Youtube several segments of the speech are available.  These excerpts let you catch the spirit of it and I was enthralled and amazed when I first heard them.

There was even a short clip of a Winston Churchill speech, today, on BBC, perhaps three sentences long. I suppose these little teasers might motivate us to look up more, since this material is easily available to us now. And, yet, I wonder why we spend so much time talking about speeches, rather than listening to them.

A friend of mine likes to quote a writer:  "Sermons don't convince."  But this would oppose this whole idea of important oratory, such as we are recalling today.  Well, news journalists spins don't convince much, either.

I will bring in one more instance.  Several months ago, I was painting some rooms and while doing that was captive to the CBC program hyping the election of Pope Francis, culminating in the smoke coming out and the everyone waiting with baited breath for him to make an appearance.  All this drama was turned up to the fullest extent and dragged out beyond all reason.  And THEN--when the new Pope came out to speak, the program switched abruptly to a story about butterflies in Newfoundland, then to a story about spring cleaning;  a whole hour was dedicated to spring themes.  We did not hear a word the new Pope delivered from the balcony.  At first, I thought, CBC has made a mistake.  They plugged the wrong cable into the wrong hole. -- Malfunction at the studio. -- But no, we did not get to hear a word of a very Christian speech.

In the light of the introduction to the African Heritage Hymnal (see a couple of posts back), and the deeply spiritual nature of the civil rights struggles, I wonder, if the Christian element of the effort is being sidelined deliberately.

For me, some of these sayings apply to grief work.

I have been hanging on to Jeremiah's words:  "I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11)

However feebly, however nearly hopelessly, we must move forward.

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