Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was a good friend of Martin Luther King. So much so that he specifically requested that she sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial right before he spoke. After her performance, King started his speech. A few minutes in, Mahalia said one sentence that changed the course of history.

“Tell them about the dream, Martin.”

King then said four words that would define an entire movement. He then launched into what is now the most famous section his speech. Those words would go down in American history. His speech that day would define the civil rights movement and give hope to millions all over the world. Martin’s dream is still the vision we have when we lose our way. It’s the goal we press into when times get tough.

Jesus is all about justice. And justice in this world often involves struggle. Sometimes it involves a fight. But more often than not, it involves listening. Listening to people who come from different backgrounds than ourselves. Listening to wise counsel. Listening to the Holy Spirit.

But sometimes it simply involves listening to friends. Today as we celebrate Dr. King’s dream, let us not forget that it wouldn’t have happened without friends. Thank you, Martin. And thank you, Mahalia.

Take time to listen. Listen to voices from different backgrounds. Listen and try to understand. But most of all, listen to the Holy Spirit and see what you are called to do.

Dreams start with listening.