Reflections on Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr.

It somehow seems especially appropriate that we remember Dr. Billy Graham’s passing the week of February 18th. It is in the beginning of the 2018 Lenten Season. The theme for last week was the Promise of God. This Sunday’s readings included Genesis 12 and Romans 4, the great promise to Abraham and the great exposition of the promise by Paul–God would bless the nations of the earth through Abraham.

Billy Graham more than any other person in Christian history preached to the nations. In my own city of New York, Dr. Graham closed his crusade career by preaching in the most multi-lingual and multi-religious neighborhood in the world, Flushing Meadow Park. In 1991, Dr. Graham preached to 250,000 people at Central Park.

During Black History Month we reflect on the important relationship between Dr. Graham and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s assassination took place 50 years ago this April. Dr. Graham and Dr. King were collaborators in the desegregation of the Crusade Movement of the 1960’s. In a nation of extraordinary racial turmoil, the tenor of that partnership is needed more than ever. The promise of Psalm 133 is that God commands His blessing on dwelling in unity.

What is that blessing? It is the Presence of God dwelling among His people. Nothing is more powerful than being radically loved by someone radically different. That is where the Love of God, the Presence of God, and the Promise of God collide.

On Saturday, February 24, hundreds of leaders across the ethnic spectrum met at Dallas Baptist University for Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD). The Presence of God was palpable as themes of gospel unity, reconciliation, proclamation and Bible translation were shared. MDGD has been described as the most diverse gathering in Dallas annually.

What makes this possible is the forgiveness of God in Christ. As Pastor Mark Davis spoke, this is the antidote to being overwhelmed by life, by inviting ourselves to be overwhelmed by the love of God. This is the great promise as expounded by Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Movement Day–we can experience the radical love and presence of Jesus with each other as we radically love God & each other.

By: Dr. Mac Pier, CEO & Founder of The New York City Leadership Center

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