Equality – making sure all people are treated fairly

So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. 

Genesis 1: 27

I am sure there are people we look up to who have inspired us in some way and for me Martin Luther King fits the bill. 

His famous “I have a dream” speech that one day his nation (America) will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ 

Let us remind ourselves by reading some of that inspiring speech:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day in Alabama . . little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King

What he was saying was I have a value of equality

At the time in Alabama, Martin Luther King knew that the true situation where blacks were treated as second-class citizens. This of course we know was, and is unjust. Just as the segregation of blacks and whites were on buses and in parks. To be denied the right to vote, discrimination in courtrooms and education.

Martin Luther King had been brought up in a Christian home and had trained as a Christian pastor, so he knew and believed what the Bible said, in Genesis 1:27, that human beings had been made in the image of God. Martin Luther King’s Christian faith taught him that, as a human being, he was a child of God and was therefore valuable and had dignity. 

He also knew and believed what the apostle Paul said in the New Testament.

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. You are all children of God through faith”., 

Galatians 3:28 NRSV

In other words, external differences are of no consequence in the Christian faith: all are equal. 

Martin Luther King lived out his belief and in so doing by peaceful actions highlighted why he has become once again so prominent not only in America but throughout the world. Martin Luther King taught us how to behave even by the actions he took. There were non-violent peace marches and bus boycotts. 

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus takes action too and it is worth reminding ourselves of this story. Jesus’ friends look at a group of children and see them in a very different way to Jesus.

Jesus had been travelling around the countryside with his special friends, the disciples, telling people about God and teaching them how to live better lives. 

Many people came to listen to Jesus, especially people who were ill because they knew that Jesus could make them better. One day, however, a different group of people came to see Jesus. Some parents brought their children to see Jesus. They had heard what a special person He was and they just wanted Jesus to place His hand on their children and pray a prayer of blessing for them.

When the disciples saw the parents, they became cross and demanded that the parents take the children away, I’m so grateful Jesus overheard what the disciples had said and He too became cross not with the parents but with Jesus disciples.

He wanted to know the reason why they were not letting children see Jesus too. The outcome was Jesus gave children an invitation to see Him.

Jesus made it clear. “Never stop any children from coming to me. They are as important to me as anyone else. In fact, God would like us all to be like these children and to love Him as they do.”

Jesus then demonstrated His equality by stretching out His hand and prayed a prayer of blessing for the children before they all ran happily back to their parents.

Jesus has demonstrated the stretching of His hands in another episode in His life when He died for all mankind. Yes, all mankind. No class, culture or the colour of one’s skin are outside the relationship God wants to have with us. 

Jesus was very busy and famous and yet He still had time for children. He didn’t see them as less important because they were young or small. He saw that, on the inside, the children were very special. You are too. Believe that? I hope you do and will receive the equality God wants to give you, a member of the family of God.

That just leaves us followers of Jesus to do likewise. As the poster on our church door reminds us, God accepts all sorts and so do we.

Stay safe and blessed