A Dream Deferred

By Kent French
January 11, 2018 - 10:27am

Some of you are familiar with the well-known poem of Langston Hughes, "Harlem," published in 1951:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

It inspired Lorraine Hansberry to write the play, "A Raisin in the Sun."

A few years ago, in the wake of the murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in Staten Island and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, I gathered with a group of colleagues who lamented how we seemed to be regressing since the civil rights movement, that seemingly little ground has been gained. I contrasted that with President Obama's commencement speech at Howard University a year and a half later, in which he asserted with his characteristic hopefulness: "America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college," and went further to say, "race relations are better since I graduated."  More recently, he has asserted: "If you had to choose any moment in history in which to be born, you would choose right now. The world has never been healthier, or wealthier, or better educated or in many ways more tolerant or less violent."

Prophets like Isaiah, like Amos, like Martin Luther King, Jr., give us dreams. They give us visions of what it looks like to live into God's kind of future. Sometimes, when we're faithful, we live into those dreams. Sometimes in big leaps. Sometimes in small increments. Sometimes there are setbacks, which feel like the dream is being deferred, or lost all together.

After seeing Charlottesville this past year and the ways that our current political climate has ripped away the respectful veil that concealed some still-living vicious racism in our country, it's easy to wonder, "where is Dr. King's dream today?"

On Sunday, we will revisit the prophet Isaiah (58:1-12), we will sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," and "We Shall Overcome." We shall renew ourselves to Isaiah's dreams, to Dr. King's dream, to God's dream. God's dreaming through us not over, but it almost always needs our help. And that's one of the reasons we come to church again, to re-catch the dream and live it out.

MLK Intergenerational 
From 9:45-10:45, we will hold our annual intergenerational MLK event in our Parlor. ALL are welcome to this event! Learn more.

City Mission Society Day of Learning
Saturday morning, January 13, we host the City Mission Society’s Day of Learning, with courageous conversations about inequality and how we confront. The event will be from 9:30am to 3pm in Willett Hall. For more information, click here.