What may have appeared to the Rev. Martin Luther King as rejection and disappointment were God’s way of redirecting him to greater things – something everyone should remember when things don’t go as we plan, according to the speaker for the MLK holiday service Jan. 22 in Lawless Chapel.
“Rejection is redirection,” the Rev. Fredrick Douglass Haynes of Dallas told a crowd of more than 150 people. “Martin Luther King was delayed into his destiny.”
Haynes recounted a story when he was a guest preacher for the Calvary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He said the deacon in Oklahoma City mentioned the church had rejected King for a church position. However, the deacon told Haynes, “If Dr. King was not rejected, he would have not told America his ‘I have Dream’ speech on 1963.”
Haynes said King also was offered a job as the university chaplain for Dillard University early in his career, but a delay in construction on campus stopped that opportunity.
Haynes said God had “bigger and better plans” for King.
Haynes compared King’s life to Moses in the book of Exodus in the Bible. Moses was supposed to be killed as a baby, but was saved by a member of the royal family because God had other plans for his life, said Haynes.
Of King and Moses, Haynes said, “God serendipitously pushed them into their purpose.”
He spoke about the important of patience and faithfulness in King’s life and in everyone’s.
Haynes reminded students, campus personnel and visitors in attendance that God will let you miss what you thought you needed to move you towards something greater. He encouraged the audience to believe in their theology and not be dismissive to systematic oppression.
“We are in a state of emergency with our current president,” warned Haynes.
Haynes asked the audience to do more to celebrate the life of King. He said King celebrated his own birthday by helping the poor and fighting injustice. He said to honor King by going from “the sidelines to the front line” – to be the fuel for change and not the wait on the sidelines.
The new university chaplain, the Rev. Herbert A. Brisbon III, presided over the service. Dr. Walter Kimbrough, university president, introduced Haynes.
Haynes has served as the senior pastor for Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas for the past 35 years. He received his doctorate in ministry from the Graduate Theology Foundation, where he studied at Christ Church, Oxford University, in England.
Under the Obama administration, Haynes was publicly applauded for developing the THRIVE Intern and Leadership Program, which helped employ nearly 100 young black males 16-19 years old.
Kimbrough said he wants Dillard University’s Martin Luther King Service to be a part of the New Orleans Commission Weekend, not just attended by invited guests and the campus community.
Scheduled volunteer activities for campus to commemorate the King holiday had to be canceled this year because of inclement weather.