The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall
Ever since the bombing of the Twin Towers on 9/11, I have felt like I am living in a war zone, and more recently it has become much worse.
The shooting of an Arizona congresswoman, the movie theater massacre in Colorado, the shooting of the innocents in Newtown, the recent Boston Marathon bombings and the shootout on the streets between police and the two brothers who were responsible for the bombings have left me feeling "shell-shocked."
And then, on top of it all, operating out of a sense of political expediency, our own public officials in congress have refused to place any controls whatsoever on the kind of military-style assault weapons used by those deranged shooters in these various incidents of rampant violence.
It sometimes feels to me as if a type of "madness" has crept into our society.
Last October I had a chance to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington. For me, the shrine to Dr. King is a holy place. As I stood in front of his stone carved statue which is surrounded by granite tablets containing some of Dr. King's notable quotes, I felt a sense of awe.
For me, Martin Luther King Jr. is a great hero. He had the courage of his convictions up to the point of giving his life for the cause of compassion. His life and teachings are a shining example of promoting the dignity of every human being. There aren't too many heroes like him in our society today. Maybe that's the problem.
In response to the prevailing violence infecting the culture of his own time and place, Dr. King once said, "Somehow this madness must cease, we must stop it now...Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence in a descending spiral of destruction which must be broken, or we shall be plunged into dark annihilation."
These wise words of a great prophet profoundly speak to us today in our own time and place. We must stop the madness. We are in a spiral of destruction. And we must not meet violence with vengeance.
As I reflect upon the descending spiral of destruction of the past years, my resolve becomes stronger than ever to "practice compassion."
The powers of darkness and destruction can only be defeated when each and every one of us live our everyday lives working for the common good, promoting one another's dignity, reconciling and forgiving. When we do this, our lives will generate light - the kind of light that defeats the darkness.
Dr. King, pray for us!
Somehow this madness must cease.