According to the teachings from “A Course in Miracles” once your spiritual work is done on this Earth, so is your time on this Earth. With that thinking reference in mind, it is much easier to celebrate the teachings of our sacred leaders than mourn their departure. Jesus Christ, Buddha, Gandi, and Mohammad are some of our spiritual leaders who we still celebrate to this day by reading their words, gathering to study their teachings, and integrating their message into our own daily living.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is a special spiritual teacher in his own light. Though raised in a Christian church, King was originally skeptical of many of Christianity’s claims. Most striking, perhaps, was his initial denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus during Sunday school at the age of thirteen. From this point, he stated, “doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly”. However, he later concluded that the Bible has “many profound truths which one cannot escape” and decided to enter the seminary. He was such a profound student that he made his entrance to college at 15-years-old. Once he was an ordained pastor at age 25, he began studying the teachings of Howard Thurman and Mahatma Gandhi.
Inspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, King visited Gandhi’s birthplace in India at age 30. The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of non-violent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”
Another not-so-known fact was King’s main advisor and mentor throughout his early activism was fellow African-American Bayard Rustin, who was an open homosexual. This caused many white and African-American leaders to demand King distance himself from Rustin. But King pressed on with his message of love despite being singled out by both sides.
When we study our spiritual leaders we seem to think they were before their time. Their message continues to so clearly resonate with us in our present day. They truly are able to see something we haven’t yet seen. They come to serve as part of the puzzle of what we are capable of as spiritual beings.
Today, celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. not just for his leadership role, but his spiritual role for humanity. In his 39 years on this Earth, he truly became the change he wanted to see in the world.
Happy Birthday MLK, Jr.!
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