This culmination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend went very nicely. I watched Agape’s Sunday service on Agapelive.com where Reverend Michael gave a rousing sermon on “playing the scales” of your life – putting your spirituality into practice with daily disciplines just like musicians play their scales for practice. I followed that up with listening to a few intellectually stimulating, profound talks by important black leaders and activists of the past – Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Mary Mcleod Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Dick Gregory, and others. And I am currently working on a painting series on black billionaires.
Being an African American living in a country founded upon hatred, cruelty, and degradation of one’s people – without becoming hateful and bitter one’s self – is an extremely difficult proposition. It takes a great deal of self-control, sometimes, to listen to the blissfully ignorant and simplistic views of some people from the racially privileged class. But it is good spiritual practice.
In one of Martin Luther King’s speeches, he makes the distinction between true agape love and all other types of love. Agape love is God’s love. It has nothing to do with feelings or emotions. It does not require one to agree with or even like the other person. Agape love is looking at individuals through God’s eyes. Regardless of someone’s imperfections – regardless of our own imperfections – agape love recognizes each created being as infused with Divinity, interconnected with each other, being perfect representations of a facet of the Divine whole. In other words, all beings are children of Divine Intelligence. As a mother loves all of her children – the good, the bad, and the ugly – God loves all of us and sees our incredible potential and divine nature.
That’s was Dr. King’s true message. People may reduce his legacy to that of race relations and civil rights. However, King promoted unity through God’s love. Hate is destructive, not only for the objects of the hate, who are the recipients of the discrimination and the disrespect. The real injury is done to the perpetrators of hate who are setting themselves in opposition to God’s love, allowing themselves to be agents of darkness. They are destroying their own souls, cutting themselves off from divine revelation and inspiration, and sowing the seeds of their own demise.
This does not have to be the case. May we all do our best to bear with one another with grace, respect, and love. May we allow ourselves to act as divine representatives and beneficial presences on the planet. This is our reason for being here.
Have a great week and go follow your bliss.
The following are the first two in a series of six on black billionaires. I hope to finish the rest before school starts next month. The other two are practice drawings from my sketch pad…