Daily Archives: September 5, 2009

Some thoughts to reflect upon on Sunday

“…And there is, deep down within all of us, an instinct. It’s a kind of drum major instinct – a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life…

“…And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. Now the other problem is when you don’t harness the drum major instinct, this uncontrolled aspect of it, is that it leads to snobbish exclusivism. Now you know, this is the dangerĀ  of social clubs, and fraternities. I’m in a fraternity; I’m in two or three. For sororities, and all of these, I’m not talking against them, I’m saying it’s the danger. The danger is that they can become forces of classism and exclusivism where somehow you get a degree of satisfaction because you are in something exclusive, and that’s fulfilling something, you know. And I’m in this fraternity, and it’s the best fraternity in the world and everybody can’t get in this fraternity. So it ends up, you know, a very exclusive kind of thing.

“And you know, that can happen with the church. I’ve known churches get in that bind sometimes. I’ve been to churches you know, and they say ‘we have so many doctors and so many school teachers, and so many lawyers, and so many businessmen in our church.’ And that’s fine, because doctors need to go to church, and lawyers, and businessmen, teachers — they ought to be in church. But they say that, even the preacher will go on through it, they say that as if the other people don’t count. And the church is the one place where a doctor ought to forget that he’s a doctor. The church is the one place where a Ph.D. ought forget that he’s a doctor. The church is the one place that a schoolteacher ought to forget the degree she has behind her name. The church is the one place where the lawyer ought to forget that he’s a lawyer. And any church that violates the ‘whosoever will, let him come’ doctrine is a dead, cold church,and nothing but a little social club with a thin veneer of religiosity…

“…And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important –wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest amongst you shall be your servant. That’s your new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it – by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. And you can be that servant…”

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

excerpts from a sermon given from the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, 4 February 1968