Clergy Corner: Pursuing justice, equality, and dreams

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that the Holy Spirit will be there to guide us as we pursue our dreams

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Brian Foxworth is pastor of Spirit of Joy Community Church.

■ Brian Foxworth / Contributed

What’s your dream? What do you desire to do most with your life? These are questions that we encourage our children to ask as they journey towards adulthood.
Especially at age 5, no one bats an eyelash at a child saying they want to be an astronaut, firefighter or cure cancer. That said, it seems that as children grow older they began to hear things like, “college is too expensive, be practical” and “you may not be smart enough to do that.”
God does not promise that we all will achieve the very high goal of orbiting space. However, God gives us the ability to seek out and achieve profound victories and overcome profound adversity.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s most recognizable speech speaks of a dream of equality, justice and a world where each human being is measured by their character and place as a child of God. Most of us can only imagine how fearful he must have been at times as the battle for justice led to physical threats to himself and family.
In his book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” King recalls a moment while sitting in his kitchen one late night and thinking of walking away. He had in that moment what we call an epiphany or revelation and states, “At that moment, I experienced the presence of the Divine as I have never experienced God before. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying ‘stand up for justice, stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever.”
What would the world look like today if King had ignored that voice and given up on his dream?
It is clear that we have a long way to walk towards racial and gender equality. But the gate to that road would have never been opened if King and others had not believed that it could come true. Romans 12:2 proclaims, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I know that for many, life has not turned out the way they had hoped or dreamed. All of us must face the challenges of disappointment and journeying down paths that we never expected. Paul reminds us that no matter what path we take, our minds and souls can be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. King reminds us that the Holy Spirit will be there to guide us as we pursue our dreams and assures us of God’s presence. Tragically, he gave his life to pursue the dream that so many of us take for granted. May we honor that sacrifice by continuing to seek out justice, truth and peace.
I pray that God will give us the courage as a society to pursue justice and equality every day and encourage one another in achieving the dreams of girls and boys, children of God young and old!

Brian Foxworth is pastor of Spirit of Joy Community Church, 3126 W. Johnston Ave. in Hemet and has been a hospice chaplain in the Valley for nearly 10 years. Before taking on those roles he studied at California Lutheran University, receiving a bachelor’s in biology and philosophy. He earned master’s degrees in bioethics and clinical ministry at Loma Linda University and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Pacifica Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley. When not running after his two little ones, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, tinkering with RC cars, reading, music and spending time with his family and friends.

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