As I was trying to put my sermon together for yesterday’s sermon, I remembered a eulogy Martin Luther King gave for little children who had been killed in a church bombing. Dr. King wanted to assure their parents that because the entire church in Birmingham had been involved in a social justice movement that they had died in the service of a noble cause.
“These children–unoffending, innocent, and beautiful–were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.
And yet they died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained—glass windows. They have something to say to every politician [Audience:] (Yeah) who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats (Yeah) and the blatant hypocrisy of right—wing northern Republicans. (Speak) They have something to say to every Negro (Yeah) who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice. They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.” -Martin Luther King
The children murdered in Connecticut were not involved in a specific social justice movement, but their deaths also speak to us if we will listen. Their cries reveal to us of the violent nation we have become, but also of the peaceable people we should be.
To read the whole eulogy, click here: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1133