Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."
Matthew 19: 14-15
This weekend a new statue dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech will be opened on the mall in Washington DC. It is the 48th anniversary of this famous speech that spoke to the hearts of all Americans, painting a picture of a future in America of equal opportunity in education, housing, work and access to resources that creates a social complex where all are lifted up and no one is left behind.
Sadly, that dream has yet to be realized and in fact, it is further from the reach of more Americans than it was 48 years ago. More children live in poverty, more people are homeless, more people are economically poorer, socially isolated and/or politically marginalized and more people have less access to opportunity today than ever in this 'the greatest' country.
Instead of people coming together, caring and sharing the love of Christ, we are more divisive. The gap between rich and poor widens, the divide between people broadens, our isolation from the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ deepens; we are a people who have lost the dream and now wander in the desert, alone and broken.
We need to rekindle the vision of a better and brighter future, to re-dream a dream where all live in hope and harmony working for the common good. We need to open our hearts to the love of God, a love like no other love, that gives, that shares, that puts others before ourselves. We need to conquer the fears that keep us from loving as we are loved, in the love of Christ Jesus.
It is in embracing the cross of Christ where we can find the courage to realize Dr. King's dream. It is in making a commitment to love, where we will find our way back to the dream of a future where all people can live, survive and thrive together.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker summed up our present dream status and the need for all of us to take up Dr. King's dream and "dream a dream that is strong, stubborn and relentless":
Still in America, one's destiny is not determined by merit alone; by how hard one is willing to work, by one's innate acumen or by how much one is willing to sacrifice for their dreams and ambitions. Instead, destinies in America are strongly and even savagely influenced by the zip code one is born in, how much money one's parents have, or put simply, whether one is fortunate enough -- lucky enough -- to have access to decent, safe housing, adequate health care and a thorough education. Frustratingly, decades after some of the most compelling and articulate dreamers gifted our nation progress, we still live in a country where race and socio-economic status are stubbornly, strongly and undeniably correlated with the quality of one's life outcomes.
Together, in the love of Christ, we can re-dream a better and brighter future for all people. Let the re-dreaming begin on this anniversary, with this statue dedication and with love and solidarity in our hearts that embraces all God's beloved children.