The preacher pointed to the fact that the congregation was soon to be celebrating a holiday in honor of a black man as a sign of progress in the fight against segregation in this country.
He pointed to the fact that another black man was beginning his second term as president of the United States as a great stride in the fight against discrimination.
But Timothy Lake warned a large crowd at Plymouth Congregational Church – gathered to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday night – that there is still work to be done.
“We have not yet arrived at what King called the ‘beloved community,’ ” said Lake, a professor at Wabash College.
Lake, a Fort Wayne native and Snider High School graduate, was the guest speaker at the 28th annual Service of Repentance & Reconciliation, a service put together by the Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County along with the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.
The service, which honors King, is meant to promote equality, healing and unity as the famous minister – who was assassinated April 4, 1968 – did.
After his time at Snider, Lake studied at IPFW, Ball State University, Howard University and the University of Notre Dame before earning his doctorate at Bowling Green State University.
He has written several books about King and said during his talk that King fought for everyone’s inalienable rights throughout his life – rights that the congregation should never forget cannot be bought, sold or traded.
“We all deserve to live full lives and rise to the height of our abilities,” Lake said to a few hundred of various races and ages who packed into the church to hear the service, which also featured hymns, a choir, dancers and solo vocalists.
But he also told the congregation that King gave them an example to live by and that they should heed what he did when examining how they go about their own lives.
“You can’t just reduce Martin to words of love and non-violence,” Lake said. “What he gave us was the example of a committed life, and you should never take that too lightly.”