We had an inspiring moment on the Hill last Monday when students, faculty and community members joined in to sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” This tune was one of the final moments of the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry’s powerful Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech. As a Christian, I can’t help but remember singing this tune in the Sunday school room at church with the other pre-K kids. Hearing everyone in Rosse Hall join in song with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church was an especially heartwarming moment. It reinforced my connection to the Kenyon community, and it was awesome to watch as people from all sorts of religious backgrounds connected through something that is a large part of my identity.
We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day to proclaim our gratitude for all those who have taken action against racial injustice in our country and direct our focus to current iterations of injustice. Martin Luther King Jr. Day ignites necessary conversations about race in America. As Bishop Curry said, we are all equal in God’s eyes and we need to take action to be seen as equal in the state’s eyes.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a preacher and his belief system throughout the civil rights movement was based in his Christian beliefs and morals. King took the golden rule of loving your neighbor as yourself to an unprecedented extent with his ability to turn the other cheek and preach a message of love in the face of violent opposition.
Christianity, similar to many other world religions, is based on love, both love for God and love for those who need it the most. The Gospel is full of stories citing Jesus’s care for those who had been forgotten. Every story we know about Jesus involves him standing up for society’s most neglected. God calls us to take action against injustice.
Sadly, that is not the message that everyone receives from my religion. The side of Christianity that sends men to hold awful signs on Middle Path often overshadows Christianity’s doctrine of love. Bishop Curry’s message that Christians should not rest until atrocious policies and acts that target people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and the immigrant community are rectified is one that I hold close to heart. As Christians, we cannot ignore this message; it is imperative that we take action.
Regardless of your religious background, I hope you found Bishop Curry’s speech powerful and insightful. If the speech left you with further questions about Christianity, I would love to speak with you. I’m in a group called Theology ‘n’ Chill that meets in the undercroft of the Church of the Holy Spirit on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and you’re definitely invited. God’s got the whole world in his hands, but it’s our job to make our world one where we are all truly equal.
Ethan Bradley ’20 is a neuroscience major from Chesterfield, MO. Contact him at email@example.com.