Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
I’ll never forget the first time I heard those lyrics. Who can? It’s from The Unforgettable Fire. Right after the bridge, the final verse. OMG! The passion. The emotion. The indictment, white people!
Never mind the historical error.
The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior was assassinated on the stoop of his Memphis hotel room right around dusk in the evening of April 4, 1968.
50 years ago.
Hard to believe.
So is this—U2 released The Unforgettable Fire on October 1, 1984 and Pride was the first single released from (what we used to call) the “album.”
Especially if you’re of a certain generation, I’ll be surprised if you don’t remember the song. MTV was still very new, still played music videos, and the video is on YouTube. I don’t want this to be a footnote today—I’m sure you’re aware that the YouTube home offices are reeling this morning from gun violence yesterday. Apparently, a disgruntled employee wounded three of her co-workers before taking her own life.
More gun violence.
Don’t dismiss it. What continues to hurt even one of us hurts us all.
In 1984 this band, U2, was just about to explode across the world. The Joshua Tree was still a couple years in the distance, but they were already well on their way. Live Aid probably pushed them over the top. But this song Pride got everyone’s attention—demanded everyone’s attention.
The song still resonates today.
Especially today. On the 50th Anniversary.
Don’t kid yourself that “we’ve come so far.”
We’ve barely moved the needle!
Really. It’s April 4, 2018. Barely a move and so much work still to do.
Our church calls it “community renewed” in our vision statement.
MLK called it “The Beloved Community.” And it rings our bell here at PCM, doesn’t it? Oh yes!
Dr. King’s words continue to challenge us: the Beloved Community is a vision where “all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”
I know we think we’re trying, white people, but we’re not even close.
So, as “woke” as you think you are—stay awake! Our next Madison Beloved Community meeting is coming in May. Prepare to reignite your heart, your effort, your passion. MLK challenges us to action today and onward!
We’re just trying to keep the dream alive.
Grace & Peace,
PS--I couldn’t just not write today of all days—so here is the footnote just so you know how I managed it.
All I have to say is that “nerve block” pain management technology is a miracle as though Jesus himself has put his hand on my shoulder (and I'm not saying he didn't...). I had the reverse shoulder replacement surgery on Monday morning (Apr 2) at snowy Overlook. Home late yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon with this drip packet that ports anesthesic to the nerves blocking the pain.
If I’m in my sling with the elbow resting on the desk, I can make my way around the keyboard (mostly). So far, it’s a good morning—but I’m sure the other shoe will drop at some point when the drip runs out. I’ll have to dig into the narcotics and then everything gets fuzzy. But so far, so good.
Thanks for all the prayers, texts, PMs on Facebook, and emails. You’re awesome!
I’ll see you next week sometime.