For as much will be written about MLK Day and the Obama inauguration falling back-to-back, it cannot be overstated what a glorious coincidence it truly is.
The impact of the moment does not seem to be lost on the incoming President – today’s Washington Post reports that Obama’s call for volunteerism on MLK Day (Congress declared the day one of national service in 1994) is being met with an overwhelming response.
While today is a wonderful time for volunteers to affect positive change, it will be important to sustain this spirit going forward. Pres.-Elect Obama emphasized public service on the campaign trail and in a recent op-ed, Alan Khazei and David Gergen write that “the case for expanding national service is compelling.” Meeting needs, creating jobs and continuing positive work are among the benefits they see. It seems well worth pursuing.
People of faith have long exercised their beliefs through putting feet to pavement and helping their communities. We should welcome this call to service as an extension of what we’re already doing, reinforcements and co-laborers. Today, and going forward, we can answer Dr. King’s call by building community with our neighbors and getting our hands dirty.