by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Standing up - Speaking Up
Series: Patriotic and Special Occasions (1 of 11)
Roger Thomas
Esther 4:12-14; Daniel 3:17-18

Martin Luther King Day Service

In my reading of the Old Testament recently, I have been impressed with two similar stories. Both are examples of courage against the odds. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew both of these stories well and often cited the second as a model for his life and legacy.

The first is from Esther 4. The young Jewish maiden had only recently been selected as the new wife of the Persian monarch. Mordecai, her uncle, informs her that Haman an aid to the king had instigated a plot against her fellow Jews. Mordecai pleads with Esther to intercede before the king, knowing full well it would be a dangerous act. When Esther hesitates, her Jewish uncle advises, ‘‘For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’’ (Esther. 4:14 ) Speaking out, speaking up for the cause of others. Speaking up when the time is right! That’s a calling from God!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life is the story of man who courageously stood up at just the right time. In many respects Dr. King was a man of his times, a man for his times. We too easily forget those days. I lived in the North where the problems were subdued and subtle, but none the less real. In the south of the 50’s and 60’s, the hatred and bigotry was open and overt.

If you had lived in the South, you could have seen this scene described by Harold Miller many times in many places. This happened on a Sunday in 1965 on the steps of a large church across the street from the state captitol grounds in Jackson, Mississippi. A row of white ushers stood at the top of the front steps of the church, arms linked, blocking the way to the doors. Standing on the lower steps, facing the doors, were four or five b ...

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