On December 11th, 1964, Martin Luther King addressed the Norwegian parliament in Oslo Norway in his Nobel lecture entitled "The Quest for Peace and Justice." On this day in America, as we celebrate the life and legacy of MLK, I share a few excerpts from this great speech, as it speaks as powerfully today as it did in 1964, about our responsibility as Christian people to the engage in the struggle of the "least of these."
"Some years ago a famous novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of suggested story plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one: "A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together.
"This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a big house, a great 'world house' in which we have to live together - black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other. This means that more and more our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. We must now give an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in our individual societies.
"This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response which is little more than emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life . . . .
"Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day . . . . "