“O for a world where everyone / respects each other’s ways / where love is lived and all is done / with justice and with praise.”~ First verse of the song “O For a World” by Sister Miriam Therese Winter
In the United States, today is the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights activist and minister. If you know nothing about him, there are several articles on his life that can be searched using whatever search engine you prefer. He was known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, among other writings and speeches and movements from the 1950s and 1960s. He dreamed of a world where all were regarded as equals and justice was something all could have.
The word comes from the Latin word iūstitia meaning “righteous, equity”, stemming from the word iūstus, meaning “lawful, rightful, true, due, proper, moderate.”
That word is one that is still sought after today. In a world where many are still marginalized, whether it be because of their skin color, their religion, their backgrounds, their sexuality, or even their gender, the world is still very much an unjust place.
On Sunday, the pastor of the little church I attend in my swath of the Midwest preached his sermon on some verses of the fifth chapter of Amos. He also used the following quote from Dr. Martin Luther King (which is also the quote in the photograph header):
As I took notes while listening, writing as I always do, a certain verse from another book of the Bible kept popping into my mind. That verse is one of many I have memorized in my head thanks to some song or another. It’s a powerful little verse and it made a powerful connection:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”~ Micah 6:8, New International Version
Even if you aren’t a believer, the verbs in that last little bit of the verse there could be true for you as well. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. We all could use a little more justice, mercy, and humbleness in this world, no matter what we believe, religious or not. And those people treated unjustly that I mentioned? They could use a little more of this as well.
Three little sentences with a great deal of action to them. Three little sentences that I tend to struggle with.
After all, I know I can be unjust to some. I am definitely not merciful to others all of the time (and even more ruthless with myself!) I know I can be more humble as well. But I try as best as I can, and am learning to impart mercy upon myself when I fail. I try to live love, not just show love. I may not be able to do all things with praise, but I do my best to find the magic in the moments. I try to do what I can to treat everyone as if they were somebody. I try to respect the ways of others, even if I do not fully understand them myself. I learn what I can to help make this world be a better place. And while I may act unfairly at times, I know that is part of being human and forgive others and myself.
Do justly. Do great things with lots of love. Make an effort to get to know those who may be marginalized in communities. Make an effort to understand that others have ways and ideas that don’t coincide with your own. Embrace the fact that while we all are human, we don’t always act and look the same. Nor should we want to.
Love mercy. Forgive when you can and as much as you can. Have compassion for others and even for yourself. Spread kindness like confetti around you in some way, shape, or form as you are able. Respect others’ ways, even if they aren’t ones you fully understand. Be joy.
Walk humbly. Take pride in your work, but don’t be overly conceited about being the best. Praise the efforts of others and lift them up as well. Be awesome, but don’t act awesome. Be thankful for what you have, even if you strive to have more.
In a world that is unjust, find ways to impart mercy.
In a world that is malicious, show kindness.
In a world that can be cruel, be love.
After all, that should be a part of the magic of this world and part of the stories of life that we are writing. For how can we say things like “with liberty and justice for all” if we do not impart that justice and mercy upon all?
Stay magical, friends.
Write your own story.
And don’t be afraid to have a dream, no matter where it leads.
This is post 7 of 13 for the Name Your Number Writing Challenge I am partaking in this month. Want to know more? Just click the hyperlink!
The photograph of the Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C. used as my header for this blog post was taken in 2018 by my dear friend Travis Stanley and was used with his permission.
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