Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4, 1968. "Why? The King of Love is Dead."

On this day, 49 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. Just 3 days later, musician Nina Simone and her band performed this moving song with lyrics written by bassist, Gene Taylor. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was not Jesus Christ, but through faith was given Christ's Holy Spirit, and he proclaimed Christ's love. Just as Christ's crucifixion was an image of our sinful response to love, so was Martin's assassination. 

The song's question, "Why?" is one worth asking, one that troubles our shared humanity and compassion to the bones. It's other question, "What's going to happen, now that the King of Love is dead?" is one for which we have the answer. Resurrection. New life brought forth out of love that is stronger than hate, stronger than sin, stronger than even death. New life that is given to us in the bread and wine of Christ's body broken and poured out for each of us. New life that fills us, convicts us and calls us to join with our brother, Martin, and all the saints, in proclaiming Christ's endless victory to all.

For a retrospective on this song, 40 years later, see http://www.npr.org/2008/04/06/89418339/why-remembering-nina-simones-tribute-to-the-rev-martin-luther-king-jr