Unless we can dream of a peaceful world, imagine it vividly in all its aspects, it will never become a reality. We hope that this chapter will inspire you to project peacein your imagination and share it with others--peace in the public imagination thus will become an engine of change and transformation of world.
One of the greatest prophets of nonviolent action, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. He shared it in August 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC with over 200,000 persons--the largest integrated civil rights demonstration in the USA. Ignoring the midsummer heat, the crowd enthusiastically greeted his words. King claimed that his dream for the future was rooted deeply in the American dream.
I Have a Dream
I say to you today, my friends, that inspite of the difficultiesand frustration of the moment I still have a dream. It is a dream rooted in the American Dream.
This is our hope. Thisis the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we shall be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brother hood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of Godís children will be able to sing with new meaning"My country Ďtis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died. land of the pilgrimís pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the Heightening Alleghenies of Pennylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.
But not only that : let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of Godís children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual. "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
August 28, 1963, Washington DC.
Afterwards King and other civil rights leaders met with President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Kingís Dream resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights act of 1964, and began a slow process of liberation and integration of Black Americans. Just five years after shared his Dream at the age of 39, King was killed by a sniperís bullet, and the world lost another great prophet. (See Appendex 1 for ĎAntidotes for Fear and Commandments for Volunteersí by M. L. King. Jr.)
We have to be able to imagine living in peace with people all over the world. Too many of us dream negative dreams--and thatís why we perpetuate this violent world.
All Godís Children
There is a story of a great artist who was employed to pain a picture from which a stained glass window would be made in a new church. The subject was "Around the throne of God in Heaven thousands of children stand." "They employed a great artist to paint the picture from which the window would be made. He began the work and fell in love with the task. Finally he finished it. He went to bed and fell asleep but in the night he seemed to hear a noise in his studio; he went into the studio to investigae; and there he saw a stranger with a brush and a palette in his hands working at his picture. "Stop!" he cried. "You will ruin my picture ," "I think," said the stranger, "that you have ruined it already," "How is that" said the artist. "Well,"said the stranger, " you have many colours on your palette but you have used only one for the faces of the children. Who told you that in Heaven there were only children whose faces were white?" "No one" said the artist. " I just though of it that way," "Look!" said the stranger, " I will make some of their faces yellow and some brown, and some balck, and some red. They are all there , for they have all answered my call." "You call?" said the artist. " Who are you?" The stranger smiled. "Once long ago I said, "Let the children come to me and donít stop them , for of such is the kingdom of Heaven-- and Ií am still saying it." Then the artist realised that it was the Master himself, and as he did so, he vanished from his sight. The picture looked so much more wonderful now with its black and yellow and red and brown childrenas well as white. Inthe morning the artist awoke and rushed through to his studio. His picture was just as he had left it; and he knew that it had all been a dream. Although that very day the committee was coming to examine the picture, he seized his brushes and his paints, and began to paint the children of every colour and of every race throughout all the world. When the Committee arrived they thought the picture very beautiful and one whispered gently, "Why! Itís Godís family at home."
Source : William Barclay. The Daily Sunday Bible, The Gospelof Mark (Bangalore: Theological Publicationsn India,1975).
One of the greatest liabilities of hitory is that too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social chamge. Each Society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping throuh revolutions. We need to follow our Prophets and keep awake. Today our verysurvival depends on our abiliy to say awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challene of challenge. Wemust transform this worldwide neighbourhood into a worldwide family.
We must work passionately and indefatigably to brdige the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. We must redeem our moral and spiritual lag.