MLK 2017

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr day. Christy and I are taking the boys to see Hidden Figures for the occasion. We want them to see and hear vital stories of African Americans making meaningful, often forgotten, contributions to our country.

This morning I offered the following prayer in worship. Quoting from Dr King's Letters from a Birmingham Jail, the litany was written by two of my professors from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, where I earned my doctorate in preaching.


We remember the conviction of Martin Luther King Jr, that "freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." Therefore, let us pray for courage and determination by those who are oppressed...

We remember Martin's warning that "a negative which is the absence of tension" is less than "a positive peace which is the presence of justice." Therefore, let us pray that those who work for peace in our world may cry out first for justice...

We remember Martin's insight that "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 affects all indirectly." Therefore, let us pray that we may see nothing in isolation, but may know ourselves bound to one another and to all people under heaven...

We remember Martin's lament that "the contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch-supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church's silent and often vocal sanction as things as they are." Therefore, let us pray that neither this congregation nor any congregation of Christ's people may be silent in the face of wrong, but that we may be disturbers of the status quo when that is God's call to us...

We remember Martin's "hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty." Therefore, in faith, let us commend ourselves and our work for justice to the goodness of almighty God.

- United Methodist Book of Worship, page 435


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