Singer/songwriter Dick Holler was asleep in his New York City hotel room when he was awakened with the news that Robert Kennedy had been assassinated. Just two months prior, Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated.
Holler had been in New York City working with the Royal Guardsmen on a new album. The next day they canceled the recording sessions, and Holler flew home to St. Petersburg, Fla.
When Holler got to his office the following morning, the recent events played on his mind. He sat down and started writing. Ten minutes later, his song “Abraham, Martin and John” was pretty much completed.
“Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham? / Can you tell me where he’s gone? / He freed a lot of people / But it seems the good die young / But I just looked around and he’s gone.”
In writing this song, Holler focused on what was common among Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy: “Didn’t you love the things that they stood for? / Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me? / And we’ll be free / Someday soon, it’s gonna be one day.”
When he was addressing the 164th Ohio Regiment, Abraham Lincoln said, “We have, as all will agree, a free government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed.”
On another occasion, Lincoln stated, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
In “Strength to Love” he noted, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
When Martin Luther King Jr. received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he stated, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
In the middle of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right … not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”
In his State of the Union address Jan. 14, 1963, President Kennedy noted, “This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.”
These men made many more important and notable statements, but none as important as statements by Jesus Christ and the recognition of who he is.
In a world filled with darkness and despair, Jesus offers hope.“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
In a world filled with anxiety and uncertainty, Jesus offers purpose. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
In a world lacking direction and having nowhere to go, Jesus offers guidance eternally. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
In a world filled with death and grief, Jesus offers life. “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
It is because of this, that after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter proclaimed, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).
As much as we seek for answers and solutions in various people, ideas and events, may we realize that our answers are all found in Jesus Christ.