The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:19a)
On This Date…
On April 4, 1968, at 6:05 p.m., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot as he stood on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee. He died an hour later at Saint Joseph Hospital in Memphis at age 39.
Following the footsteps of his father and maternal grandfather who were both Baptist ministers, Dr. King resolved to enter the ministry at the end of his junior year of college. He was ordained the following year at age 19, four months before his college graduation.
After studies in Chester, Pennsylvania, and Boston, Massachusetts, he was assigned to a church in Montgomery, Alabama. The next year, Mrs. Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, refused to give up her seat to a white man. In the turmoil that followed, Dr. King was drafted to lead the protest. While sitting alone in his kitchen, he received a death threat by telephone, after which he turned his life over to God.
Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Death threats, imprisonments, and knife attacks all befell him. On the evening of April 3, 1968, he said in a speech, “I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.”
Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we can pray the words of today’s psalm, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”
– Father McLaughlin