Day 2: Atlanta, GA (Jake Edmunds)

June 12th, 2016

I’m looking now at a bronze sculpture (in the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site) of a man in a loincloth lifting an infant, Simba-style, to the heavens. Titled “Behold,” the statue honors the tradition of some African peoples of taking a newborn child to a clearing, lifting him or her to the sky and declaring: “behold, the only thing greater than you.”

In this Herculean statue I can see a double-symbolism, a message that extends to visitors to the park as both individuals and as a community. The bronze man seems to simultaneously herald in the days in which no man is seen as superior to any other, and to beckon visitors to embody Dr. King’s greatness and selflessness themselves. He addresses, then, the world at large by reminding us that the child in his arms is to be respected as a fellow human being, and addresses the child himself by reminding him that he ought to live his life as though he has no limits. The MLK Jr. NHS holds more museums and historic sites than can possibly be explored in the depth that they deserve in one day, but for the moment I am content to simply smell the aura of this place. So I sit and contemplate the challenge set forth by the bronze father: the challenge both for his son and for the world around him. The message is personal, and I can feel it pressing me from both sides. How can I strive to live up to the examples set by men such as Dr. King? How must I act if I am to recognize the humanity, the image of God, in all men and women?

This sculpture is nestled between the historic and new Ebeneezer Churches. I wonder what it would be like to worship the Lord in the presence of sisters and brothers in Christ each Sunday and be greeted upon leaving or entering the church by this bold image?

“If you begin something, and you don’t remember where you came from, you’ll eventually find yourself right back where you started.” -Mrs. Juanita Abernathy

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply




Speak your mind