Martin Luther King Jr. Day, being observed today, is an appropriate time to recall an exceptional person. But more importantly, it's a time to recommit the nation to the cause for which King died and the legacy he left for all of us.
The famed civil rights leader, assassinated April 4, 1968, was a preacher with a message as important today as it was more than four decades ago. He saw God's words as fundamentally connected to his call for equality, nonviolence and justice.
King's religious faith was the heart, center and soul of his work. Without God's word, King believed, there is no moral authority from which mankind may work for the higher good.
Assassinated at age 39, King never knew just how much of his dream would be realized in America. He became an agent for social change and a martyr for the cause he so fervently espoused.
Had King lived, he no doubt would be particularly proud that the country he loved elected and re-elected Barack Obama to be its president after campaigns in which race wasn't an especially divisive issue. Obama's presidency is strong evidence of the headway Americans have made in making King's dream of racial harmony a reality.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. provided a message that is as relevant today as when he lived and led.
Each of us is in position to improve society in the ways of justice and mercy. We can do so by building bridges across the artificial and arbitrary boundaries our world creates. That is the best way to be faithful to King's message and honor his memory.