By Tia Lynn Ivey
Nearly 51 years after his death, Martin Luther King Jr. is still inspiring millions to make his infamous dream of justice, peace, and racial equality a reality.
Local leaders gathered on Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. at the annual MLK Breakfast at Source of Life Ministries in Madison and for a religious service in the evening at Calvary Baptist Church in Madison.
During the evening service at Calvary Baptist Church, Keynote Speaker Reverend Robert Terrell preached a sermon on rediscovering the message of Jesus Christ and how that message undergirded Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. He challenged the attendees to rethink the teachings of Jesus and let them inspire their lives the way Martin Luther King Jr. did.
“We have lost Jesus somewhere along the way,” said Terrell.
Terrell praised King for his dedication to justice, commitment to love and nonviolence and his versatility in delivering his message of racial equality and social justice.
“He could always cross over,” said Terrell. “He could talk with a garbage disposal worker in one conversation and then turn his hat the other way and talk to somebody at Pennsylvania Avenue…He could talk to anybody.”
During the annual breakfast at Source of Light Ministries earlier Monday, Dr. James Woodard, superintendent of Morgan County Schools, was asked to speak.
Woodard relayed his love of Dr. King’s legacy and how he took lesson he learned from Dr. King and passed them down to his own children.
“Some 11 years ago, I started reflecting on what I wanted my kids to take away from their time at the barn,” said Woodard of his agricultural background. He began studying the life of Martin Luther King Jr. “I started to draw parallels between Dr. King and what I was trying to teach my kids.”
For Woodard, King was great spiritual leader who called for the transforming of society by first addressing the state of our souls.
“He said you must find the redemptive power of Love. When we discover that we will be able to make this whole world a new world, love is the only way,” said Woodard.
Woodard said that journey required first loving yourself and respecting yourself so that you can be empowered to love and respect others. He encouraged the audience to rely on God’s love for humanity.
“God loves you above everything,” said Woodard. “Whatever may happen from this point forward in my life or your life, we can always go back to the basics, that God loves you.”
Madison Mayor Fred Perriman closed the breakfast ceremony by reciting several of Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotes that have inspired him.
“Dr. King once said ‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,’” Perriman quoted.
He encouraged the audience to carry on Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy in their own lives and in their own communities.
“We have to keep moving,” said Perriman. “Black and white together, we will get there, but we have to keep moving in the direction of love for all mankind.”l