Monday, January 15, 2007

What Will Happen To Them?


In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here's a stirring excerpt from the last speech Reverend King ever gave, I've Been to the Mountain Top. If you're interested, you can read or listen to the address in its entirety here.

[In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ] talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn't stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But with him, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou," and to be concerned about his brother.

Now you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn't stop.

At times we say they were busy going to church meetings--an ecclesiastical gathering--and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn't be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that "One who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony." And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather to organize a "Jericho Road Improvement Association." That's a possibility. Maybe they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the casual root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effort.

But I'm going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It's possible that these men were afraid. You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles, or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about 2200 feet below sea level. That's a dangerous road. In the day of Jesus it came to be known as the "Bloody Pass."

And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?".

That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" "If I do no stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

9 comments:

BA said...

So, did he plagiarize that speech like he did his doctoral dissertation? JK, good speech.

Ben said...

Good stuff...

smootheP said...

Didn't it seem like there wasn't very much attention paid to Dr. King during OHS history classes? I just don't recall ever hearing any of my history classes really discuss him. I'm not meaning to imply anything about Orem, I'm honestly just curious if anyone else noticed this.

Mrs. McDreamy said...

Well, I grew up in Arizona so apparantly I am racist (according to BA and Chris Rock) because AZ doesn't celebrate MLK day. Well, I am here to tell you, I love him and I am not racist. Thanks for the post Bohn.

Tara said...

Loved it!

BA said...

AZ started celebrating it so they could get the Super Bowl there.

blondemama said...

There wasn't any attention given to anything in my OHS History class. It was crazy to take a "real" History class in college for me because it was like a suspense novel, I had no idea what was going to happen next.

BA said...

I hope you're not dissing Mrs. Browning because she was sweet. One time she talked about Manifest Destiny and how it offended her on a personal level because she was like 1/32 Indian. Isn't it sweet how everyone thinks they're part Native American? TFL was in that class, I can remember her talking directly to him and his sister and feeling like they related on a higher level because of their shared Indian heritage.

But let's be honest OHS RULES!

Marc said...

Smooth EP - That's because we didn't have Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Utah back then... the legislature stubbornly refused to change the name from Human Rights Day until 2000. Plus... we only had two black kids in our school, remember? Anthony Stewart and ... er... what's-his-name. So maybe ole' OHS figured we didn't have much use for MLK.

BA - It's all about the economic incentives baby.