Imagine with Me

“Too frequently we think we have to do spectacular things.  Yet if we remember that the sea is actually made up of drops of water and each drop counts, each one of us can do our little bit where we are. Those little bits can come together and almost overwhelm the world.”  – Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most significant speeches ever uttered in this country.  His pursuit of love, leadership and faith helped bring civil rights to many and it exposed unjust systems.  While his life was cut short by hatred, we give God thanks that his legacy of love continues.  Today is the day we take time to appreciate and remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.— his life, his words, his work and his ongoing legacy.

On this King holiday, I invite you to compare what was happening in the world during the civil rights movement and what is happening in the world now.  Take some time to re-read King’s A Letter From a Birmingham Jail or Where Should We Go From Here this week. How many of the issues happening then are still happening now? The players may have changed but the injustice, greed or marginalization is the same.  Lord, help.

When we listen to King’s speeches or read his writings, it is challenging, profound, and inspiring.  Because of his incredible impact on this country, we can start to think that only a few people, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are called or able to do justice work. Of course, we know this isn’t the case.  What if every single one of us has something to do when it comes to creating a just world?   This really isn’t a question- it is a reminder.  All of us have something to do when it comes to creating a just world.  Will you imagine with me for a moment if each and every person took that to heart. Seriously, take a moment and imagine it with me.  If every person, regardless of age, education level, skin color, tax bracket or vocation, would acknowledge that God has something for them to do in the work of justice and then they do it.

“We do not know why God entrusts the work of God’s kingdom into our clumsy hands…  But we are forever grateful that the Lord does not want to change the world without us.” 

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

What would you imagine?

We can tell ourselves something along the lines of,  ‘I’m not gifted like King, or have that kind of courage, so justice work must not be for me.’  You are right — you are not King, I’m not King — but thank the Lord we don’t have to be in order to do what the Lord is calling us to do.

It is my prayer that today we will allow King’s life and legacy to inspire us and then motivate us in our own justice work.

God wants us to get involved in bringing justice to the world.  There is a beautiful prayer in Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, that says, “We do not know why God entrusts the work of God’s kingdom into our clumsy hands…  But we are forever grateful that the Lord does not want to change the world without us.”

So the invitation — or maybe it is more appropriate to call it a challenging invitation — for us today is to ask the Lord, “How am I living out my faith by working for justice?”

Most of us are not called to lead anything like a March on Washington, but I can bet my bottom dollar that you are called and uniquely gifted and equipped for something. Justice is not something that just a handful of people pursue, it is part of every Christian walk with the Lord —it is part of our spiritual transformation.  We can’t delegate it, outsource it or ignore it.  Each of us has some part to play.  So, look around — there is something in your neighborhood, something in your local community that needs your attention.  Something in society is broken and you can help fix it.  Something that will make the lives of your neighbors better or improve things for future generations.  There is something.  Your challenging invitation might be to help eradicate food deserts, to stop revisionist history from being taught in public schools, to increase access to mental health resources for children, to advocate for a covered bench at a bus stop so your neighbors can rest for a minute while waiting for public transportation.  I don’t know what it is, but there is SOMETHING.

Thankfully, we don’t have to figure out what that something is. You will discover it as you spend time with God and God will prepare you and point you in the direction you should go.  God is already preparing the people you will need to connect with, learn from, and how you will be equipped  for this something that is for you.

If you would like some guidance on figuring out what is your “something,” you can use this link to join our Patreon where we have a guided reflection that you can enter into by yourself or with others.

Tina L. Harris

Tina is the Cultivator of Community and Connection at the Transforming Center. She ordained in the United Methodist Church and holds a Master of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology. She has served the church in a variety of roles, including Lead Pastor of Grand Avenue Temple UMC and Director of Mission, Service and Justice Ministries in the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church. As an attorney and diversity leader, a common thread in her work is to gather individuals into communities, challenge comfort zones and invite those whom society has overlooked to take their place at the table.
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Hi Tina, thank you for your sharing and all the prayers for the readers. I am a Christian in Hong Kong. We know MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ but that’s all most of people here in HK. Thank you for sharing the whole speech. I love the “something “ you shared. I certainly wait for our Lord to show me “something “. And pray that I can discern His will and humbly and courageously respond to that “something “.

Thank you, Ms. Tina, for this inspiring article. It’s good to see your connection and work with the Transforming Center. I appreciate all of the expertise, wisdom, and inspiration you share into the world.

At 75 years of age, and a product of total segregation (yet, not a victim of it), I was a teenager and young adult during the 60s. I’ve seen, witnessed, endured, and transcended much in America. We have come a long way, yet we have “miles to go before we sleep.” The residual of the 60s still exists and social media has now exposed much of what was going on “back in the day.”

“Strength To Love” one of MLK’s early books impacted me greatly back in the 60s. Its message is still relevant and healing for today. It is the “Balm of Gilead” for what ails our society.

Thank you for who you are and your work! Be Blessed! Be Inspired!

What would the world be like if…”If every person, regardless of age, education level, skin color, tax bracket or vocation, would acknowledge that God has something for them to do in the work of justice and then they do it.”
What would the church be like if that happened as well?

Thank you for sharing.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sejana Yoo

Go Tina! Amen!

Thank you for remembering an iconic love practitioner. Just finished my annual reading of To Coretta Scott.

As a love practitioner, joyful disruptor, and business and culture transformer, it delights me to see how Coretta influenced him and how he navigated the tension in their budding relationship. I would have never thought that I would cite it in my first doctoral paper amplifying his thoughts on capitalism through a theologian’s lens. It reminds me of my call to action in every speaking engagement or sermon: Be love in your context. Grateful for the call on my life to be love in the marketplace.

May you find inspiration in this letter today 🙏🏽

I love this “Be love in your context”. Thanks for that, Jasmine.

Well said, Tina!

“Thankfully, we don’t have to figure out what that something is”…
Thank you Tina for this reminder. I have often struggled with “what is my part – what does love require?” I want to do everything! God is teaching me (when I’m pliable enough to be taught) to pay attention, to be present, and not to shun doing something. Reading Dr. King’s writing is a compelling invitation.

Thanks Tina for sharing some thought provoking questions on this day when we remember Martin Luther King. It really brings his message home.

Thank you Tina. I am very much encouraged.

Thank you for these words Tina!

“We do not know why God entrusts the work of God’s kingdom into our clumsy hands… But we are forever grateful that the Lord does not want to change the world without us.” I love that prayer. Thank you for sharing it! I think I will include it every Sunday in Lent to remind us all that we matter in the work of God, clumsy as we are.

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