What is in a home? "Home is where the heart is,” the old aphorism says. But what does that mean? Zillow has that commercial where it says, "You are not looking for a house, you are looking for a place for your life to happen." Yet I think there is something more to home than just a place where our lives happen. In this day and age, if you tell me where you live, you have given me some of your identity. And that is why the next seven days are so important. In 1968 the next seven days April 3-10 has given me the opportunity to live with my family where-ever the money will carry us.
You look at my family: a white middle class man, a wife and a daughter. Back in the 60’s, we would have been the people who would be seem as benefitting, because of segregation. It’s weird to think that we are inheritors of Martin Luther King's legacy. While at the reading of Martin Luther King's will, Beth and I were never named, yet our hopes and dreams are the beneficiaries to Martin Luther King's dream.
Now it is fashionable to look at the civil-rights movement, see what it represents in our culture, have a grievance, and say my civil rights have been violated. In this way, many want to lay claims on the prophet Martin Luther King's dream. Yet when you read their claims, they are, at best, shirttail cousins and, at worst, outright impersonating heirs, seeking to chip away at those hard fought civil rights, as we have recently seen in Indiana and 19 other states who have RIFA laws. So you should be skeptical of my inheritance claims.
My wife is deaf. I’m aware that there are cases where deaf people have been discriminated in housing as late as 2014. This is a problem. The National Fair Housing Act assures my family a legal remedy if we feel we have been discriminated. We can take legal action against that renter or realtor. In his way, we are inheritors of the martyrdom of Martin Luther King. As we look for a new house for our lives to take place, there are no words to express the the deep and humbling gratitude for those who nonviolently marched toward equality, knowing that many would have to give a full measure for the struggle and so I give thanks.
Yet there is an awesome realization. Beth’s and my parents can speak of that great horrible day on April 4, 1968. Yet I doubt that they could have ever expected that their children’s dream to be beneficiaries of Fair Housing Act signed seven days later. I walk with Martin’s offspring who are my brothers and sisters whether they live in Ferguson or are gay and lesbian. I do this not because I experience the discrimination that they do, but because that I know Gabby’s, my daughter’s, dreams may one day dependent on the success of their struggle.
In Genesis 12:1-9, there is a story were God and Abram goes "shopping for restate.” There are three verses that are deeply profound:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Abram, who would later be called Abraham, the father of many nations, saw the land that his children and their children live in.
`I have to wonder tonight, the last night of Martin's life. When Martin told of the story when God and him went restate shopping on a mountain top. I wonder when Martin peered over that mountain to see the nation that we live in today. Did he see my family and families like mine? Did God say to him, "because of the sacrifice you pay, they will have the right to buy house where-ever their money will carry them.”
As we conclude this Passion Week, on this Good Friday, as we look to hope of Easter, let us remember that to be children of the living God, to be brother and sister in Christ is to be offspring of Martin's dream, to be blessed, and to be the blessing. To understand that what I have is a legacy of those who have struggled for my equal rights. We need to remember that there is no greater love than to lay down one life for another so that they may live where ever they want in nonviolence and peace.
In life of Christ;
Death is not the end.
"If Martin died for it;
I can carry out what he started."
Amen, Amen, Amen.