Martin, Did You Know?


photo credit: WilliamMarlow via photopin cc

This Sunday in confirmation class, our 8th graders, our youth pastor and I tackled the question, “Did Jesus know he was God?”  {Yes.  I know.  The questions are always this easy.}  After some scripture reading, an edgy and appropriately angsty video, and some guidance from our youth pastor, we may not have answered the question so much as acknowledged its complexity.

Um…Yes.  Probably.  I mean, he knew but did he know?

As with so many other questions, sometimes the Bible isn’t clear.

At one point in the lesson, the conversation turned to Nelson Mandela.  An attempt to connect to modern day.  Did Nelson Mandela know his impact during his life?  Did he know the power of his letters and his message?  Did he understand his timeless purpose even while he sat in a jail cell for all those years?

To which, I posed the question, “You kind of have to wonder, did Nelson Mandela know he was Nelson Mandela?”

I mean, he knew but did he know?

Do any of us really know who we are in the moment?  Do the greats, the prophets, the timeless voices that move us forward toward a better humanity – toward the Kingdom – do they know?  Are they sure of their call and their purpose…or do they doubt?  

How in their humanness can they {can we} be the hands and feet and heart and voice of God?

Today, we celebrate the life of another modern-day prophet.  On this day, we remember and reflect on the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy.

And you can’t help but wonder, did he know he was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Did he know – as he led the Montgomery bus boycott – he was bending the arc of the moral universe?  Did he know –  as he penned his letter from his jail cell – he was writing words that would echo far beyond the page on which his letters were written?  Did he know – as he spoke those most famous words from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial – he was dreaming our collective dream?

Did he know he pointed us toward the Jesus of the Gospels or did he doubt?  In the face of the opposition, did he question his call?  From behind the prison walls, did he wonder about  his purpose?

{From the cross, did he question his father?}

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s voice echo’s still today.  As does Mandela’s.  Somehow, they had to know.

And now, in this generation, I wonder, does Malala know?  Does Bishop Talbert know?  Desmund Tutu?  Anne Lamott?  Bishop Gene Robinson?  Pope Francis?  Do the countless others know they are the hands and feet and heart and voice?

Do you know?


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