I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Gospel.
I have a dream that one day this church will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all elders are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of Mars Hill shunned members and the sons of Mars Hill members will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the Bellevue Campus, a church sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day belong to a Mars Hill church where they will not be judged by the nature of their questioning but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Ballard, with its vicious shunnings, with its pastor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Ballard, little shunned boys and disciplined girls will be able to join hands with little elder’s boys and lead pastor’s girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the church with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our church into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to coffee together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning,
Come thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise!
And if Mars Hill Church is to be a great church this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening buildings of Bellevue!
Let freedom ring from snowcapped Mount Ranier over looking Tacoma!
Let freedom ring from the Sandias’ slopes of Albuquerque!
But not only that; let freedom ring from downtown Seattle!
Let freedom ring from Leary Street in Ballard!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Huntington Beach. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s Mars Hill Church children, members and ex-members, employees and ex-employees, elders and ex-elders, executive elders and board members, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”