This holiday weekend always brings me back to my childhood—when we would caravan with two other neighbor families to a cabin on Love Lake for a long weekend. It was sheer childhood magic. Six kids under one roof, several birthday celebrations, pancake assembly lines and murphy beds that tucked into the wall. These visits included jumps into the frozen lake, ice skating time trials, icy moonlit walks, and ghost stories by the fire (The Legend of Sam McGee, every year!).
This is a stark contrast to the way I have had the honor of observing this holiday in the years since then—both equally good.
It’s a little-known fact that Denver hosts the largest Martin Luther King Day parade (‘Marade’) in the country. It is a mix of drum lines, students, choirs, clergy, scout troops, politicians, churches, Black Lives Matter advocates, peace pilgrims and spectators. There are calls for reform as well as a birthday song for MLK. It is diverse, celebratory, sometimes angry, always thought-provoking.
As I imagine the tone of the Marade this year, there are several words that come to mind. However, I was recently challenged by a compelling article that I read, to veer away from the word ‘hopeless,’ particularly as a person of privilege. I am working to shelve that adjective, trading it in for ‘discouraged’ or ‘spurred on.’ Particularly as a white woman who has experienced anything but the discrimination so familiar to so many, giving in to hopelessness is a passive form of checking out. This is not an option for an integrated Christian person. It is certainly not the solidarity that we are called to.
Today, as always, the daily readings are ripe with meaning. Mark’s Gospel is using the metaphor of new wine in old wineskins—and the absurdity of it. Why on earth would someone who took the time to make good wine, run the risk of losing it to a burst wineskin? [Insert your own hypothetical question regarding seemingly amicable situation turning sour, here].
There are a multitude of factors giving me pause today as I sit with the day that honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and accomplishments. As we move into a new year, a new presidency and the fresh start that so many are looking for after the endurance race that was 2016,
What am I being called to preserve with integrity?
Whose integrity am I being called to preserve?