Martin Luther King Jr, responding to a question about, “What love is,” wrote: “Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. (The one) who loves is a participant in the being of God.” (From a handwritten note, which was put on auction in 2020.)
What made MLK great was his focus on love as a constant. His commitment to justice was undergirded by his commitment to love – And to love even those who persecuted him. One cannot understand his ability to love though, without understanding his faith. King drew strength through his relationship with God.
In a day when many people have abandoned Christianity, King would remind us that God was at the center of his life. The Bible was the source of his words.
King drew strength in his experience of God’s presence and sustaining love. Speaking at the Detroit Council of Churches on March 6, 1961 he said:
“God is still around. And all of our new knowledge cannot decrease (God’s) being one iota. And when we discover (God) , and when we allow (God) to be the central force in our lives, we begin to live with new meaning, for there is something about this faith in God that lifts us from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, that can transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of joy. Then we come to know that as we struggle for the good life, we do not struggle alone but that we have cosmic companionship. When we believe in God sure enough, we know that there is a power in this universe working at every moment to bring low gigantic mountains of injustice and to pull down prodigious hilltops of evil.”
Throughout the ages, others have also found that strength in a relationship with God. A power that calms and quiets the soul, encourages and fortifies resolve, teaches the power of love. A power transforming darkness into hope and promise.