The world seeks answers that are found in the bosom of the Creator
By Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Dr. Alveda King is a mother, grandmother and the author of several books, most recently King Rules. She heads Alveda King Ministries and is Director of African American Outreach with Priests for Life.
While we have never met, I, like millions of people across this vast planet, sometimes feel as though I know you. Many times as I watch news reports, read snippets from social media or have conversations with your fans and your foes, I whisper a prayer for you. I can only imagine how it feels to have the eyes of the whole world on you, loving you or hating you; sometimes simultaneously.
Sir, there is so much going on in this world. People are looking for answers in the obvious and even remotest corners of our global societies. Of course, as the Pope, the singular most visible “religious authority” on the planet, you likely expect that people would want you to know everything, and to solve all of the problems of the world. Is there ever a moment that you get an opportunity to chase a butterfly, or pen a sonnet, or enjoy a culinary treat at a corner pizzeria? Maybe you do. I pray that you do.
By the way, one of my favorite symbols of transportation is the reference of the “chariot of fire” in 2 Kings 2:11. However, I must admit that from my point of view, the “Popemobile” is a very endearing mode of transportation that can be appreciated from an “earthbound” perspective.
On a more serious note, I’d like to express deep appreciation for your attention to the quality of life on planet Earth for all human beings, born and unborn. It can’t be easy to speak to massive populaces, all hungry and thirsty for both spiritual and natural sustenance. Amidst opposing world views that lead to vitriolic verbal sparring and all too often escalate to physical confrontations, please allow me to note that your voice is resonating as the cauldron of humanity’s emotions is no longer simmering, but is threatening to not just bubble over, but to explode in the fiery flames that threaten to singe even the noblest hearts, as dreams and hopes teeter in the tinderbox of what could and should have been, and one day yet may be a garden of love.
My father Rev. A.D. King, my grandfather Daddy King, and my famous uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were all Baptist preachers while they lived here on the earth. They believed in a “Beloved Community” where all people could live together as brothers and sisters. They taught this principle from Acts 17:26 — that God creates all human beings from “one blood.” This of course means that we are brothers and sisters. Uncle ML even said: “We must all learn to live together as brothers [and sisters], or perish as fools.” In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he spoke of his dream that Protestants and Catholics, and Gentiles and Jews would one day come together and sing “Free at Last.”
So, in closing, dear Pope Francis, as you make your journey across America, I pose to you a string of rhetorical questions that transcend current critical-mass events. Prayerfully, you may be inspired to address these during your visit: Can a Protestant love a Catholic? Can a Gentile love a Jew? Can a Muslim love a Christian? Is a baby in the womb a person? What is the meaning of love? Is sin a dirty word? Do we have to be filthy rich to be happy? Can the Lion really lie down with the Lamb? There is opportunity to encourage us, to caution us, and to inspire us with your answers.
Somehow, somewhere, in the final analysis, the answers to all of life’s questions ultimately lie in the bosom of our Divine Creator. God bless you, sir. You remain in my prayers.