March 9 MLK Reflection

Power, Love, and Justice – Today’s Quote from Dr. King:

In a speech to the staff of his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in May of 1967, Dr. King talked about the meaning of power and why it is necessary to have power in order to achieve justice.

“Now that we are in this new era where the struggle is for genuine equality, we must recognize that we can’t solve our problems until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power. There again we must not be fooled about this. We must recognize that if we are to gain our God-given rights now, principalities and powers must be confronted and they must be changed.

“And we must not worry about power. We must not worry about using the word “power”, because this is what it wrong in so many instances, is that we are devoid of power. Now power is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. Power is the ability to affect change. The problem has been that all too many people have seen power and love as polar opposites. Consequently, on the one hand, that have thought of loveless power. And on the other hand they have thought of powerless love. They didn’t understand that the two fulfilled each other. And what we must understand in the non-violent movement is that power without love is reckless. And love without power is sentimental. In other words, power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. And justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

Link to more:

Here is a short (just a minute and a half) video clip of Dr. King making some of the same points about power that are found in the quote above

For Reflection and Prayer:

  • Think about some times in our country when political power has been used to help achieve justice. Do these examples give you hope that similar things can happen in the future?
  • Pray that God will give you a greater understanding of the relationship between love and power and how they interact in our world.
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