The Martin Luther King Center

On Sunday, after I worshipped at North Point Community Church, I had a chance to connect with Pastor Andrew Lewis, his wonderful spouse, Suzanne, and their 10 month old baby, Junia.

Many of you will remember that Pastor Andrew was once “Intern Andrew” at Trinity, and was a wonderful and deeply appreciated part of our team. He served for four years as pastor of an ELCA congregation in Macon, Georgia, commuting down from Atlanta to do this work. This past winter, he left that congregation to be at home. He has also entered into military chaplaincy and will be serving as a chaplain in the US Army Reserve. He anticipates re-entering congregational ministry at some point in the near future.

On Monday, I met with a member of the synod staff, just to hear about the ministry that is taking place in the Southeast Synod of the ELCA.

Then, with a couple of hours to fill, I went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. I was here once when I was in college, but much has developed since then.

Walking around the center, you have the sense of walking on ‘holy ground.’ As you approach, you see the giant reflecting pool. In the center of the pool, on a small “island” made of brick, are the graves of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his spouse, Coretta Scott King. 

The reflecting pool is in the form of a simple waterfall, with Dr. King’s paraphrase of the words from the prophet Isaiah: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Near the reflecting pool is an eternal flame. 

There is a visitor’s center as well and a book store, with many of MLK’s writings. 

The visitor center sits next to the original Ebenezer Baptist Church. The day I was there, the church was closed as the HVAC system was being replaced.

Across the street is the new Ebenezer Baptist Church, a beautiful, modern building. And next to that is the Martin Luther King National Historic Park. Inside are exhibits, a theater with an educational film, and outside is a “Racial Justice Walk of Fame” with footprints of people who took risks to bring justice and equity.

The whole experience was pretty overwhelming and kind of emotional.

It’s emotional because while yes, I think we have made progress as a society, there is still so far for us to go in order to reach Dr. King’s vision where people truly are judged by the quality of their character. There is pain and anger, especially among our siblings of color. 

It grieves me that there is still so far to go.

My visit to the King Center was a reminder both of the need, and of our call as people of faith. We are called to step into the breach between what “is” and what God intends. And our call is to bring justice and reconciliation, until” justice rolls down like mighty waters, and righteousness like an everlasting stream.”

Thanks be to God!

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