Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator--that something we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.
I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.
I'd like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question.
I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try to feed the hungry.
And I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked.
I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison.
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I wanted to say.
If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, if I can spread the message as the master taught, then my living will not be in vain.
Bishop Charles J. Mason Temple, Memphis, Tennessee, April 3, 1968