Rev. King in a pulpit
One of the many things I appreciate about the fact that we honor Dr. King's memory this time of year is that we have a holiday in honor of a preacher. Having grown up in a parsonage, I am glad that we honor a representative of the ministry. Of course, we don't do this primarily because King was an ordained minister, but we should not forget this aspect of his life. His "I Have a Dream" speech is better term the "I Have a Dream" sermon. For that is what it is, a sermon to the nation. It is, in fact, an evangelical sermon, a "National Call to Repentance" because you can see all the marks of the "Come to Jesus" sermon in it. Identification of sin, the call to Repentance, the Hope of Grace, the Need for Attonement, the Opportunity for Reconciliation can all be found in the speech's stirring words.
"I Have a Dream" Text and Video
King was one of many prophetic voices throughout our history who have called the nation to live up to its promise. Another favorite of mine is John Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity" which contains the phrase "We shall be as a city set upon a hill." Though Winthrop was a layman, his speech was organized in the manner of the Puritan sermons of his day. Winthrop, first governmor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, gave his sermon to the Puritan colonists in transit over the Atlantic. In many ways, Winthrop set the tone for how we see ourselves as a nation and our place in the world.
"A Model of Christian Charity" Speech