Sunday, 1 January 2012

What are your New Year's Resolutions?

This is what Martin Luther King said early in 1968:

‘We should resolve to be more concerned than ever before about the least of these God’s children. A number of you this morning got up – I would say most of you – and you had a good breakfast. I would hope that all of you had. You got up in a house – it may not have been the finest house in the world, but I assume it had heating. Most of you have running water. Most of you have a job or some kind of income. But this morning I want to remind you, and I hope you will never forget it, that most of the people of the world not only missed a good breakfast this morning but they went to bed hungry last night. Two thirds of the peoples of the world go to bed hungry at night. These are the least of God’s children. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. I’ve been on the streets of India. I’ve seen them on the streets of Africa. I’ve seen them on the streets of Latin America. But not only that I’ve seen them on the streets of our own nation. I’ve seen men in the Delta of Mississippi who earn only two or three hundred dollars a year. I’ve seen it with the unemployed in the ghettos of our nation, and underemployed. And I’m simply saying this morning, that you should resolve that you will never become so secure in your thinking or your living that you forget the least of these… In some sense, all of us are the least of these, but there are some who are least than the least of these. I try to get it over to my children early, morning after morning, when I get a chance. As we sit at the table, as we did this morning in morning devotions. I couldn’t pray my prayer without saying, “God, help us, as we sit at this table to realize that there are those who are less fortunate than we are. And grant that we will never forget them, no matter where we are.” And I said to my little children, “I’m going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don’t ever want you to forget that there are millions of God’s children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don’t want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be.” And in God’s economy the man who has been to No house is as significant as the man who’s been to Morehouse.  In God’s economy the no degree is as significant as the PhD. In God’s economy the man who lives in the slum is as significant as Henry Ford or John Rockafeller. And when we see this, we love and we are concerned about the least of these God’s children. Don’t ever allow yourselves to forget them. Resolve this New Year’s Sunday that you’re going through 1968 concerned about the least of these God’s children.’

Dr Martin Luther King, “What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?” Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, 7th January 1968.

I also really liked Naomi Klein's tweet linking me to Woody Guthrie's 1942 New Year's Resolutions, particularly number 33 "Wake up and Fight" -

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