Each January, around Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, we publish a series of articles in The Christian Citizen on the life and legacy of Dr. King. Look for the articles later this week and  subscribe to The Christian Citizen Weekly for early access to these and other stories.

Among the articles we published in 2019, several are worth revisiting this year.

In “What would Martin do?” Debora Jackson suggests King would urge us to be “divinely dissatisfied, for in that dissatisfaction, we would carve out an audacious hope for the future: a hope born of justice, peace, and unity.”

In “Martin Luther King, Jr., Day: A good day to think about patriotism” John Zehring writes, “Patriotism, as exemplified by Dr. King, thinks evaluatively about one’s country in light of its best values, including the attempt to correct it when it’s in error and fix it when it is broken.”

In “Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and our walls” Richard Harwood reflects on King’s visit to the Berlin Wall in September of 1964, noting, “If we wish to do something about the condition of our country, if we seek to improve our individual and shared lives, then let us tear down the walls that exist between us.”

In addition to reading these articles and those soon to be published, we encourage our readers to join with the American Baptist Ministers Council in observing Martin Luther King, Jr., Day as a “day on, not a day off.” In their January newsletter, the Ministers Council notes that in his last speech, Dr. King said, “Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.” To that end, the Ministers Council is encouraging its members and their congregations to participate in service projects in their communities, including: 

  • Working for voter access and protection
  • Repairing homes for seniors
  • Volunteering at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or food pantry
  • Cleaning up a neighbor’s yard or helping with snow removal
  • Making hygiene kits for those without access to affordable housing
  • Assembling care packages for deployed troops, veterans, and wounded soldiers
  • Supporting labor organizing for fair wages 

This list is suggestive, not exhaustive. How will you observe the holiday? Is your congregation sponsoring or participating in an event in your community? Share your plans with us on Facebook and Twitter and consider projects others are planning that could be replicated in your community. Together, lets develop a dangerous unselfishness that honors and extends the legacy of Dr. King.

Curtis Ramsey-Lucas is editor of The Christian Citizen, a publication of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.