"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
A century later (and 50 years ago, today), Martin Luther King, Jr., standing symbolically in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., delivered his monumental I Have a Dream speech. Not many years later, and not unlike Lincoln, King was assassinated. A sniper's bullet struck him down shortly after he had delivered his last speech: I Have Been to the Mountaintop. King was only 39 years old.
King eloquently described his dream with terms such as "brotherhood" and the need to "make justice a reality for all of God's children." He wished to see "justice [roll] down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." In one of the most famous lines of his speech, King declared: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
But this was not all. Martin Luther King, Jr. drew upon the words of Isaiah, declaring: "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." King worked to hasten the day when "all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'"
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" (Gal. 5:1), and he taught the Romans in an epistle "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2) As Christians, both Lincoln and King stood fast in the liberty that only Christ can bring. (see John 8:32)
But what about today? Has King's dream been fulfilled, or, to quote Langston Hughes (a poet and a contemporary of King), is it merely a dream deferred? Is President Barack Obama the fulfillment of the dream and the new mouthpiece for both Lincoln and King? Are there other dreams, or is this the American Dream?
Approximately six hundred years B.C. a prophet and his family escaped from persecution in Jerusalem, and while tarrying in a tent in the wilderness, this prophet had a dream:
"Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision." (1 Ne. 8:2)