Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bends Toward Justice

One of my most favorite quotes comes from Martin Luther King who used the following phrase in several of his speeches and sermons. The phrase: The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Something I found on the net said this about the phrase, "In 1961, Dr. King used these words when he explained his principles of nonviolence. On March 31, 1968, only four days before his assassination, he used these same words in the National Cathedral when he gave what would be his last sermon. He employed this phrase many times, before many audiences."

This phrase gave hope to so many during the years of the Civil Rights Movement. This phrase gives me hope. It gives me hope personally, and in how I view the world. Namely, in the balance of good and evil in the world.

An interesting note, and what I wrote for a paper in the Theology and Ethics of Martin Luther King, Jr. class I took years ago, MLK did not come up with this phrase. This phrase was originally penned by abolitionist preacher Theodore Parker in 1853. Parker, who was a Unitarian minister, said this, " "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

Interestingly, from the article I found, Parker secretly raised money for John Brown's assault on Harper's Ferry, as well as give shelter to runaway slaves. The article said that he was noted to write his sermons with a loaded pistol at his side in order to protect those in his care.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice. God always bends God's own hand toward justice. That's the hope of believing in Christ.

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