Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that in studying Gandhi;“My scepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished… prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationships… but after reading Gandhi, I saw how mistaken I was.”
Without Gandhi’s influence Dr. King would never have become one of the heros of the practicalites of nonviolence that transformed American’s structural racism. It is my prayer that in teaching about the life of Gandhi, Christians can go through the same conversion experience Martin Luther King Jr. did and not limit God’s love.
After studying Gandhi, Dr. King was no longer willing to limit Jesus’ commandments to love God, self, neighbour and enemy to just ‘individual relationships’. No longer willing to limit God’s love and keep it just a private reality instead of permeating all of life. No longer willing to limit the Lordship of Jesus to merely the heart excluding it from the social, political and economic as well.
Through the life of this Hindu who daily meditated on and practiced the Sermon on the Mount, MLK heard a fresh Jesus say,
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
It is my hope and prayer that not just Christians but the world would come to see that proclaiming Jesus as Lord (our final authority) is only done when we put down our weapons and and love our enemies, feed the hungry, invite in the refugee, cloth the naked, look after the sick, visit the imprisoned and be prepared not to compromise on what Martin Luther King called “the power of love” as we seek to transform the Powers to serve the humanising purposes of God. Even if it means going the way of the cross, trusting only in resurrection power.
- So I invite you once a week to join me on a prayerful journey with a thin, bald,toothless, five foot tall, leader who changed the world as we listen to his thoughts and quotes on Jesus and Christianity. “Wednesday’s with Gandhi”.