The work of light, the work of love

Martin Luther King, Jr. was formed in his vision for the peaceable quest for justice in part by E. Stanley Jones, a 20th century Methodist missionary to India.  In studying nonviolence, King secured a book written by Jones on Mahatma Gandhi.  In it he read these words, “Civil disobedience is not for the weak but for the strong.”  In the margin King wrote, “This is it.”

On Sunday, January 19th, Laurel Heights will host the San Antonio community for a service honoring Dr. King’s life.  In the months we have been preparing for this service, I have reflected more deliberately on the ways this modern prophet has influenced my life and ministry.  These are among the words he spoke and wrote across the years in striving for the good society that have guided me:

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.  And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.

God has two outstretched arms.  One is strong enough to surround us with justice, and one is gentle enough to embrace us with grace.

I believe that the unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the last word.

Justice is indivisible.  Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and worth.

Truth is not an idea but a life.

This is the great new problem of humankind:  We have inherited a large house, 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—a family separated in ideas, culture and interests, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.

May we each do our part, more and more each day, and in every new year, to live with unconditional love while championing the unarmed truth of a core Christian conviction: that “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Grace and peace.


Rev. Paul L. Escamilla, Senior Pastor