(The speech below was given the MLK Interfaith Service: Journey’s to Justice on January 27, 2021, as part of a week of events comprising MLK Week at SU)
“This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited ... a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together — black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu ... Because we can never again live apart, we must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.” (Martin Luther King, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?)
Dr. King, in his own reflection, has found the fundamental conflict of humanity that has festered and grown from the bedrock within the crux of the globalized world. We are indeed a “world-house,” and through the windows of this grand mansion, we see a coalition of diversity, the pieces coming together like fine stitches in a quilt.
But even with the beauty that stems from each corner of the soul of the world; we as humans stretch and ebb and oscillate, using the energy of our world-house to irritate and fester said fundamental conflict, and creating little explosions along the fault lines.
But we are capable of so much more than our own destruction:
There is a story from my tribe, a prophecy about the four corners of the earth, and the origin of the shadow side of the world, a lesson to be told- perhaps an answer to Dr. King’s question: how do we live together in peace?
From the teachings of my people’s prophecy, I believe we can live in peace through the stories we tell. Our narratives are the most intimate parts of us, and all humans understand stories- we speak in them, we breathe in them, we exist within them.
In the globalized world, we must reach across the bridge, we must travel from one end of the world-house to the other so we can experience with every sense; another’s story. We breathe in the collective, we nurture the different, we respect the nuance- every speckle in the kaleidoscope of the soul of the next spirit. When we do this we understand, and in knowing, we find peace.
Let us continue this process together, as our ancestors have done across the boundaries of time and difference. As we must do for the benefit of our communities.
Today, and all days, let us remember our humanity.
Our duty is to each other.