This is an original spoken-word poem titled "King".
Filmed & edited by Stephen Briscoe.
I woke up this morning at half-past nine;
Three words and one name bouncing around my mind:
Martin Luther King.
From January of '29 to April of '68;
39 years of Christian love walking.
39 years of Christian love conquering hate.
Notice I only said 39; because this man didn't live to be 40;
This 3rd-generation Black Baptist preacher whose teachings would reach further than any church bell, sermon or political revolution the world has ever seen --
This man didn't live to be 40.
See, therein lies the irony.
That a brutal and violent death was the cost of lovingly and nonviolently opposing systems of injustice.
It's what sometimes happens when you put your foot in the ground and refuse to walk any path other than the path of God.
And I'm not talkin' Kanye West; Yeezus.
I'm talkin' the Son of God; Christ Jesus.
For some reason, when you speak for the little ones;
The ones whom Jesus spoke of when he said to "let them come";
That's when you're speaking like Jesus, and that's how Martin Luther King knew Jesus best:
As God who turned the world upside-down in just 33 years on the earth.
As God who was expected to ride in on a horse and overthrow the Roman Empire, but instead rode in on a donkey and told His followers to love their enemies.
God who became a man and yet rejected patriarchy and sexism by touching, honoring, and uplifting women in ways that were so radically contrary to his culture and his time that the word "feminist" doesn't even scratch the surface.
God who came into the world and said "What you do to the least of these, you do to me".
That's the Jesus that Martin Luther King knew best.
But the reality is that we've done to Martin Luther King what the Jews did to Jesus Christ the King:
We misunderstood and hated him while he was alive, and so we killed him; and now we all act like we love him even though most of us never really even knew him in the first place.
You see: we missed it.
America is the same as Israel; Memphis became Jerusalem; the Lorraine Hotel became Calvary.
We put a bullet through Dr. King's throat and then put him on a stamp;
We watered down his prophetic fire and drew a shade around his lamp.
That's just what we do.
Whether it's Jesus, Ghandi, or King, whether it's a wooden cross or a bullet,
We're so quick to silence prophets that we would use nearly anything to do it.
But now we know that truth, crushed to earth, will rise again.
That death is not the worst thing that can happen to woman or man;
The worst thing we can do is sit back and say "We can't", when really we can.
If you can't run, walk.
If you can't walk, crawl.
If you can't crawl, then fly;
But don't allow yourself to be convinced that we can't do anything about the injustice in our world.
Raise your voice, lift your hands, march along and sing,
Join with us in honoring and join the world in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King.