All of us have some sense of pride in who we are and where we came from. Our own tradition is meaningful to us, be we German, Welsh or Italian, heritage means something. There is nothing wrong in being proud of where you came from. My guess is, for many of you, your father or mother told you, “Be proud!” regardless of the newness of your shoes, the fadedness of your jeans or even the color of your skin. Pride can be good.

There is a pride that goes deeper than the pride we have in our heritage. It goes beyond country of origin, patches on jeans or color of skin. It is a pride in whose we are and what we are called to. Martin Luther King understood that. He was a proud man. His pride was found in the One who had selflessly humiliated Himself to set men and women free. MLK was proud of Him. He boasted in Him. He was free at last in Him.

MLK was not interested in pride demonstrated by those who thought horizontally. Some were proud because they were black. Some were proud because they were white. MLK repudiated that level of pride as an end in itself. He knew it led to bondage. He knew there was a greater and richer pride found only through freedom in Christ. It was pride in the One who transcended color. The One whose blackened and butchered body dripped red blood on white cloth. His boasted in Jesus.

Bono of U2, a white Irishman, said it well as he wrote of Dr King. They could take his life, but they could not take his pride. Death could not kill boasting in the Lord. Jesus died a death He did not deserve to set a people free. “What more in the name of love?” Nothing. There is nothing more to be done in the name of love. Love has done all. Now we are called; black, white and brown to take pride in who we collectively are
in Him, Christ Jesus our head. We are called to serve like Him, love like Him and take pride in His name as His glory spreads over the earth. To live as free men.

One day He will bring us all together, every tribe, tongue, color and nation. Until then He calls us to work together as we sing the songs of freedom:

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love...

Bono, U2 “Pride, (In the name of love)”