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Blog // Thoughts
December 6, 2005

Advent: Reflections From Martin Luther King Jr

Several blogs have been citing Martin Luther King Jr during this advent season. For me these passages have stood out. “…the most striking thing about the story of Rip Van Winkle is not merely that Rip slept twenty years, but that he slept through a revolution. While he was peacefully snoring up in the mountain […]

Several blogs have been citing Martin Luther King Jr during this advent season. For me these passages have stood out.

“…the most striking thing about the story of Rip Van Winkle is not merely that Rip slept twenty years, but that he slept through a revolution. While he was peacefully snoring up in the mountain a revolution was taking place that at points would change the course of history‚Äîand Rip knew nothing about it. He was asleep. Yes, he slept through a revolution. And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.

There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today. In a sense it is a triple revolution: that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation; then there is a revolution in weaponry, with the emergence of atomic and nuclear weapons of warfare; then there is a human rights revolution, with the freedom explosion that is taking place all over the world. Yes, we do live in a period where changes are taking place. And there is still the voice crying through the vista of time saying, “Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away.”

Now whenever anything new comes into history it brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. And I would like to deal with the challenges that we face today as a result of this triple revolution that is taking place in the world today.

First, we are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood.”

The idea of being a Rip Van Winkle who “sleeps through the revolution” should give us pause to reflect at this time. It is all to easy to sleep trhough Advent; to drift from one party to another, from one busy car park to another, from one meal to another. But, if we are honest, so much of our lives are lived in a dream-like drift as well. I’m pretty there have been months, maybe years which for me were nothing but a drift.

But advent calls us to attention. It proclaims the darkness in our lives and the promise of light to found in the mysterious child in the manger. Advent is nothing if not a call to wake up.

You can read the rest of the sermon here.

[tags] Advent, Martin Luther King Jr, Theology [/tags]

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