I work for a quasi-judicial regulatory civil rights agency that enforces the Fair Housing Act. This position provides me with many opportunities to consider the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his contribution to the pursuit of fair housing.
What impresses me most about Dr. King, however, is his search for God and truth. What he gleaned and subsequently put into practice left an indelible imprint on the United States and the world.
King’s essay “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” chronicles his consecrated study of God and His creation. He concludes that essay in part by saying: “In the midst of outer dangers I have felt an inner calm and known resources of strength that only God could give. In many instances I have felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope. I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship.”
The first time I read that essay, I thought, “Wow, this is Dr. King!” I have been sharing it with others ever since. I remember as a child having a deep reverence for King, but when I read this essay, I identified with him and what he represented because I, too, am a seeker for God and truth.
My pilgrimage began after a physical healing I had through the study of Christian Science. After that healing I remember thinking: This can’t be happenstance. I have to understand how I was healed and be able to heal others. My study guides have been the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science.
Through these books, I’m learning more about the nature, power, and allness of God. I’m learning that there are divine laws that undergird God’s creation, including each of us as His sons and daughters. And I’m learning that healing takes place when my thoughts are in line with the way God sees His spiritual, harmonious creation.
These truths are especially helpful in my present work. They keep me from being judgmental or self-righteous when I engage with respondents who have been charged with discrimination. And I feel protected from feelings of inferiority or superiority – the recipe for bigotry or prejudice.
I’ve found this statement from Science and Health particularly helpful in my work: “God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built it on diviner claims. These claims are not made through code or creed, but in demonstration of ‘on earth peace, good-will toward men’ ” (p. 226).
To me, that “higher platform of human rights,” was King’s pursuit. And it is the pursuit of any sincere seeker for Truth. During this national observance of Martin Luther King Jr., let us remember his pilgrimage, strive to know God more completely and to see each of us as His creation.
Monday, Jan. 17 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States.