Another thirty years have passed since I went to the 20th Anniversary March. The Dream continues, but we are still not there. My reflections on the 50th Anniversary center come from a sense of lament. The lament traditions are deeply rooted in the faith stories of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim people. After losing his son Eric in a mountain climbing accident, Nicholas Westerhoff wrote a book called “Lament for a Son.” In the book he talks about the Beatitude: “Blessed are those who mourn.” He writes: “Who are the mourners? The mourners are those who have caught a glimpse of God’s new day, who ache with all their being for that day’s coming and who break out into tears when confronted with its absence…They are the ones who realize that in God’s realm there is no one who suffers oppression and who ache whenever they see someone beat down…The mourners are aching visionaries.”
I believe we are called to be holy mourners and our hearts should ache as we witness and hear of acts of racism and prejudice at all levels. Our aching is not a passive feeling. It is a call to action–a call to participate in bringing about the teachings and example of Jesus Christ who worked to make a place for all. It is a call to action to bring to reality the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream. Blessed are those who mourn. God blesses the work of those whose hearts ache at the injustice and oppression and indignity experienced by so many. May we know such blessings as those who have glimpsed the reality of God’s new day and work with all our being to work towards that day.