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17 January 2011

There Will Never Be Another

There will never be another Rev. Dr. Martin (neé Michael) Luther King, Jr. Sometimes I think folk are looking for a successor, an Elisha to his Elijah. I see it in the media's obsession of identifying a Black American spokesman. And I see it in the King-era civil rights workmen (and I mean men) clamoring for that mantle. I see it in the struggles of Dr. King's children for his legacy and the not inconsiderable profits from that legacy.
There is no single successor, no single heir to his mantle. I believe that we are all heirs to his prophetic mantle just as we are all heirs to his legacy. I am reminded of the words from Numbers 11:29, "Would that all the people of God were prophets."
I ascribe to both the "priesthood of all believers" and to specific God-ordained clergy vocations. In the same way I believe that we are all called to prophetic speech and action and that there are some vocational prophets called and set apart by God.
The dreams and visions of Blessed Martin have not yet come to pass. He will not come back to give them birth. We who have inherited his legacy and mantle have also inherited the responsibility to midwife his dreams and visions. We have so much work to do. We should not pass his legacy, mantle and our responsibility on to the next generation with so much yet undone.

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