Good evening B&F family and happy MLK Day! I’m hopeful you all were busy today in service projects and reflecting on what Dr. King’s legacy means for you. While it was certainly inspiring to see so many of my friends, family, peers, and so many young people give reverence to the man who undoubtedly changed the course of history, I couldn’t help but to feel how generic and surface level some “tributes” were today. If I’m to be honest, I’ve definitely been guilty of the clichéd status or two and so please know when I write this, I am preaching to myself- NO SHADE TO ANYONE!
However, it was in my moment of utter dullness from scans of my Facebook timeline and twitter feed that I decided to revisit some books that were collecting dust on my bookshelf, as well as hit the web for some more understanding into who this man, this martyr, really was. From a very quick read, I fell in love all over again with the life that MLK lived and put some of my favorite facts in my back pocket to share.
How many of you know that Dr. King actually skipped two grades in high school and entered Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of 15? This man legit graduated with his PhD at 25; can we say incredible? I also forgot that MLK was a smoker, and apparently on the day he was shot in Memphis, one of his closest friends, Reverend Kyles, removed the pack Dr. King had on him before the ambulance arrived as to keep his image pure. I also find that many people don’t know that Dr. King was stabbed with a letter opener while on a book tour nearly ten years BEFORE he was assassinated. The doctor, who treated him, told Dr. King that if he had sneezed even once before doctors could remove the blade, his aorta would have been punctured and he would have died in that moment, coining the famous “If I had sneezed” line in his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech. Hear him talk about it here. My favorite fact has to be that he apparently was a huge Star Trek fan, yes Star Trek.lol
While these tidbits are just a small glimpse into his life, it makes me not only love him even more, but I feel a closer connection to who he was as a man and as a human. Forgive this ratchet transition, but I wonder how many of us have been perpetuating the same surface level “understanding” of Jesus? I mean really, how many of us truly know the man and the savior? I speculate that many of us know Him because of our personal testimonies, but is that enough to share with others and teach folks who this great Man is? Probably not…In addition to our personal stories of how we came to know Christ, I believe we need to be in prayer and in God’s word daily in order for us to truly know Him, and more importantly for Him to truly know US. I know that sounds crazy, especially because we’ve always understood God to be omniscient, meaning all knowing, but the Bible tells us that when we come face to face with our maker, Jesus should be able to exclaim His personal relationship with us. Acts 17:27 instructs us to “…seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” I think that if we make the effort to dig deeper into who Christ is, much like my sentiments after learning more about Dr. King, we will grow closer to Him and love Him more as we start to understand the Man that He was while on earth; a Man who cried (see John 11), one who had a temper (Matthew 21:12-17 is juicyyyy), and one who even enjoyed a bit of sarcasm from time to time (Matthew 7:9-11 is too funny).
I honestly believe that the best way to honor someone is to know him or her, I mean really know them. I always pride myself in how well I know my best friend (as well as those closest to me), and she can tell you I sometimes even know her better than she knows herself. Truly knowing my best friend allows me to be a better friend to her and ultimately has proven to be the reason our friendship has lasted so long. Similarly, I believe God wants the same fabric in a relationship with us. He craves an authentic, deep, close friendship with each of us where we not only know Him better, but one where He knows us better. It’s a new year, so what will you do to get to know Him better? I know one thing’s for sure; I do NOT want to perish in a circumstance where Jesus has to say “I never knew you; depart from me…”, Matthew 7:23.
Happy Monday and I’ll catch yall next week!