When I was a teenager in the seventies, the Jesus Movement was in full-swing. It was the first time I’d ever heard the term “born-again” or what it meant to go to a bible study with my paperback Living Translation Bible. As most others, we sat in a circle with our fellow brothers and sisters - another popular term. There were always guitars strumming as we’d begin singing. I can still remember a few of our favorites. We’d lift our hands, close our eyes and sway to the music as we’d sing through our born-again tears. We knew what it meant to be saved and set apart…it meant something then but that’s another story. Anyway, I can still hear us singing, “They’ll Know we are Christians by our Love.” Three words said it all - God is Love. It was on our t-shirts, bracelets, bumper-stickers, and the posters on our bedroom walls. Love was the message…hmmm, hasn’t it always been, really?
Another song was, “It only takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going,” I’m not even sure if these are the titles but my fellow “Jesus People” (as we were called) will remember! I don’t know what made me drift back to “yesteryear”, but I often get that way when I see something of historical significance.
Today is Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In America, we celebrate the life of the slain civil rights leader and the advancements he made in a country that didn’t, and unfortunately at times still doesn't, treat all people as equals. I was just a little girl, but I remember the day he was killed. I remember my dad coming into my grandma’s house, where I so often was, and telling her about the shooting. I saw the news and the newspaper and really could not wrap my young mind around such a tragedy. As I grew older, I began to comprehend the significance of the life and message of this great leader. Of course, I’ve seen his renowned and moving speech, “I Have a Dream.” Today, I saw Dr. King’s monument as thousands gathered for the Presidential Inauguration. Regardless of one’s political persuasion, the swearing in of a president is still a celebration of our great country and its democracy. Having said that, I realized this day, in inaugural history, was really made possible by Dr. King’s efforts and his “dream”. Many brave men and women fought with Dr. King but it was his “spark that got the fire going”.
His legacy still serves as an inspiration and we should stop and think that this is more than a day off from work. There is a message for all of us… have a dream and have a spark. As Christians, we can have personal goals and dreams but our dreams should extend to our fellow brothers and sisters. We have a freedom that many cannot share because our message hasn’t been heard.
In the Jesus Movement, we were taught to witness our faith and took our tracts and spark and went for it! I remember the first question we would ask someone, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?” What a way to begin…who doesn’t really want or need to hear that? We don’t need to long for those days, we just need to re-ignite. Selfishness smothers a fire but selflessness is the spark that will get it going again. Selfishness lulls us to sleep while we relish in God’s blessings as though they were meant just for us. Love is meant to be shared which is why “they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” If we act like Him, we will draw people to Him.
It’s a cold, snowy day in Ohio with temperatures in the twenties. Our home felt that chill so I went to the fireplace. It won’t start without a match but one flame started a roaring fire…just one.