More than 500 African American Christians have visited Jerusalem to reinforce civli rights leader Martin Luther King’s solidarity with Israel. CBN News reports they wanted to both honour Dr. King’s love of Israel and to show that they’re carrying it forward.
They sang hymns from the civil rights movement as they marched down the street named after the former Baptist minister and activist who was planning to lead 3,000 African Americans to the Jewish state in the late 1960s.
Dr. King and his wife had visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho in 1959 and in what would be his final speech, he connected America’s civil rights struggle to the Israelites entering the Promised Land saying: “I just want to do God’s will. He has allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”
The Six Day War in 1967 and his assassination in 1968 meant he never got to lead thousands of African American pilgrims to the Promised Land of the Bible. 55 years later hundreds of them have fulfilled his dream.
Among them was Dr. Glenn Plummer, Bishop to the Jewish people for the Memphis-based Church of God in Christ where Dr. King last spoke before he was shot. He said: “Most folks have no idea that he was so pro-Israel.” Addressing the Israeli people, Bishop Plummer assured them, “Black America loves you, Black America is standing with you, we’re praying for the peace of Jerusalem by the tens of millions. And so we’re thrilled to be able to carry this message to Israelis.”
Pastor Joshua Giles of the Kingdom Embassy Worship Center in Minneapolis agreed with that message. “We love Israel, we support Israel, we support you,” he said. “I know there’s so much going on in the world, so much hate. But I just want people to be encouraged that in the midst of all the darkness going on, that there’s more light than darkness, and we just wanted to come and add to the light.”
He reminded the participants: “It’s not a coincidence that you’re here, that all of you are here on this ground. Everyone that I’ve talked to, that came in my group of hundreds of people, have told me that they felt summoned here. It was almost like someone was pulling them to come at this specific time, and we all know who that Someone was. I believe that was the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – literally summoning His people.”