Shot Rings Out In The Memphis Sky

Friday, April 04, 2008
It was either 1983 or 1984, which means I was either a freshman or sophomore in high school.

We were on a family vacation, my folks in the front seat, my brother and I in the back.

The D.J. on the radio said, "This is the first playing of the new U2 song about Martin Luther King, Jr, called 'Pride (In The Name of Love)'".

"Early morning April 4th/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last/They took your life/They could not take your pride".

I was riveted from first hearing. By U2 for sure. But more than that by MLK, Jr. That day I began a study of that great leader that continues to this day.

Today is April 4th, 2008. It is the 40th anniversary of that horrible day on a Memphis hotel balcony when a bullet ripped out Dr. King's throat.

He was actually supposed to be in Charlotte that day, but cancelled at the last minute.

He was 39 when he died. This is the first year he has been gone for more years than he lived.

I am 39.

I am thinking today about what he accomplished - a great, flawed, passionate, Christian man changed the world by a relentless commitment to and proclamation of justice and love.

I am thinking today about my own commitment to social justice, the living out of the Gospel in our world, my own latent racism.

I am 39.

Who knows how much longer is left?

There is so much to be done. So much I am not doing.

I hope the next 39, by God's grace, accomplish more than the first 39.

As Bono likes to say, "Help me, Lord".

And, thanks, Lord, for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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