Martin Luther King wrote a speech in which he talks about the famous Washington Irving character Rip Van Winkle. He says when Rip went up the mountain where he fell asleep, he passed an establishment that had a picture of King George the Third out front. When he came down the mountain 20 years later the establishment had a portrait of President George Washington. King said that Rip was beside himself and didn’t know what to do with himself, and really didn’t know who he was anymore. He then goes on to discuss that for many people that is what was going on in the world of his time. Rip had slept through an entire revolution and many people of his day we’re doing the same. There was a revolution in race relationship, in the treatment of the poor and the needy, and all kinds of social institutions. It was a wonderful speech and a wonderful observation. It was more presient than we might think at first glance.
We have slept through a revolution of what it means to be human, what the purpose of government is, what education means, how we deal with one another as individuals. There was for instance two designations on forms – male of female. Now there are 58. What does that mean for us Lutherans who are look to our station in life for confession and absolution?