“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of [humanity] does not remain at flood-it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on.” –Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967.
“What does your Lord require of you? To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God?”-Micah 6:8
Today our nation celebrates the historic life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his constant search for nonviolent action on behalf of justice. We have probably heard the familiar phrase of William Shakespeare “The past is prologue; what to come, in yours and my discharge.” To the contemporary ear this is the equivalent of saying “What’s already happened merely sets the scene for the really important stuff, which is the stuff our greatness will be made on and you and I have the future now in our hands.
Dr. King reminds us of the “fierce urgency of now.” The focus on the “now,” is balanced in our knowledge of the past, with a glimpse looking to the future so that we can see this very moment as it is, the present. When we focus on the present, we can walk in solidarity with others, balancing individual rights and the common good. The “now” calls us to speak on behalf of the dignity of those who are less fortunate. When we focus on the present, we walk humbly with our God. When we focus on the present, it is a focus that is to draw us out of our apathetic posture and into the moment.
It is this moment now, that God reminds us that the past has merely set the scene for the really important stuff, the stuff of right now–where our greatness is found. When we focus on the right now in our homes and communities, we give better care of our families and neighbors; we help others find meaning and purpose in their life and work. It is through daily life, lived in the present moment that God continues to build humanity, continue His work and call us into action and participation with that work in the world.
- In a society of apathy and distraction, how can we be truly be present to the needs of our neighbors and families?
- How do we help others experience a genuine sense of community and fulfillment in their work as ministry (God working through us)?
- How can we work to stand in solidarity with those who are less fortunate so that we may truly carry on the ministry/witness that Jesus has entrusted us to continue, now?