Tuesday, January 19, 2021

MLK Week | Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer, Quotes, "Glory"

Emmaus City Racial Reconciliation Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. through his words, his courage, and the song of reconciliation he continues to inspire for many in 2021

The more I live, the more I continue to be humbled by Martin Luther King, Jr. What a civil servant, what a leader for all people, and what a preacher who embodied much of what Jesus inaugurated as His Kingdom of heaven on earth message: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” + Luke 4:18-19

Was he a perfect man like Jesus? No, King had flaws, just like you and me. But so much of what MLK said and did honore Jesus' words and actions; God used Martin in mighty ways to exemplify His great purposes of redemption and reconciliation for humanity. And in light of our national holiday, I want to honor this pastor who pursued justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God by looking at some of MLK's most famous and resonant words that continue to impact us today, some featured in the film, "Selma," and the song, "Glory," that also help capture some of the great moments of his life.

Also, for those looking to put their shared passion of MLK and his worldview into presence and compassion in their community, here are some helpful recommendations featured in the article, "MLK Day of Service: Turn a Day Off into a Day of Action".

Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer

Dearest Jesus, come and sit with us today. 

Show us the lies that are still embedded in the soul of America’s consciousness. Unmask the untruths we have made our best friends. For they seek our destruction. And we are being destroyed, Lord. Reveal the ways the lies have distorted and destroyed our relationships. They break your shalom ... daily.

Give us courage to embrace the truth about ourselves and you and our world. Truth: We are all made in your image. Truth: You are God; we are not. You are God; money is not. You are God; jails, bombs and bullets are not. And give us faith to believe: Redemption of people, relationships, communities and whole nations is possible! Give us faith enough to renounce the lies and tear down the walls that separate us with our hands, with our feet, and with our votes!

O God, in these turbulent days when fear and doubt are mounting high, give us broad visions, penetrating eyes, and power of endurance. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, for a better distribution of wealth and for a brother/sisterhood that transcends race or color.

In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

Emmaus City Racial Reconciliation Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"The time is always right to do what is right."

"Now, you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn’t stop. At times we say they were busy going to a church meeting, an ecclesiastical gathering, and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn’t be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that one who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony. And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather, to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s a possibility. Maybe they felt it was better to deal with the problem from the causal root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effect. But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, ‘I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.’ It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about twelve hundred miles, or rather, twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the ‘Bloody Pass.’ And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking , and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." 

"The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others."

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power of love."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"The Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. ... We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. ... The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges."

"In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: 'Those are social issues, with which the Gospel has no real concern.' And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular."

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals."

"Man is a sinner before the Almighty God. That is one of the basic facts of the universe and one of the basic facts of life. Now, we’ve tried to get away from this in the modem world, we hate to hear this word 'sin.' We try to run from it, and we try to talk about it in other terms. This is one of the weaknesses of religious liberalism, that in throwing out some old traditional conceptions, liberalism fell victim to the danger that forever confronts any new view, and that is that it became sentimental and soft, feeling that man was evolving from a lower state to a higher state and eventually he would move on up the evolutionary ladder and throw off all of the evils and sin of his nature. Then, we came back to see that even after all of that man is still a sinner. ... At bottom, the conflict is not between the id and the superego but the conflict is between God and man. And the universe stands with that glaring picture of the reality of life-that man is a sinner, man is a sinner in need of God’s redemptive power. We can never escape this fact."

"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."

"Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But ... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

"So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment."

"In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? … I see the church as the body of Christ."

"Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being 'disturbers of the peace' and 'outside agitators.' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were 'a colony of heaven,' called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be 'astronomically intimidated.'"

"'In God we live and move and have our being.' Without God the whole cosmos would crumble to nothingness. Without God our human efforts would turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest night. Without God the whole drama of human life will be a meaningless myth. God is forever on the scene sustaining and protecting us."

"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."

"It is our prayer that we may be children of light, the kind of people for whose coming and ministry the world is waiting."

"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice … Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right: 'Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' This is our hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow, with a cosmic past tense, 'We have overcome! We have overcome! Deep in my heart, I did believe we would overcome.'"

Martin Luther King, Jr. "Selma" Film Synopsis

Emmaus City Racial Reconciliation Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities

Vital, volatile, and victorious. "Selma" is absolutely breathtaking. This is exceptional filmmaking that reveals where we come from, who we are, and the road ahead we all still need to walk. An essential movie to be added to America's film library. Never a false note. Never a wasted moment. I continue to be shaken each time I watch this film from the shocking beginning to the stirring end. An astounding accomplishment for everyone involved, including Director Ava DuVernay, Actors David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo, Screenwriter Paul Webb, Cinematographer Brad Young, and all the other craftsmen who made this piece of art to showcase a key moment in history. "Selma" will stand the test of time and is deserving of every accolade it continues to receive. Thank God for everyone this film honors and for those who persevered to get it made. May He light our way so that we can continue in His spark and His strength that stoked the firebrands who made the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

MLK Selma Film "Glory" Song Lyrics and Video

One day, when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
Oh, one day, when the war is one

We will be sure, we will be here sure
Oh, glory, glory

Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon
Formed against, yes glory is destined
Every day women and men become legends
Sins that go against our skin become blessings
The movement is a rhythm to us
Freedom is like religion to us
Justice is juxtaposition in us
Justice for all just ain't specific enough
One son died, his spirit is revisitin' us
Truant livin' livin' in us, resistance is us
That's why Rosa sat on the bus
That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
They say, "Stay down" and we stand up
Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up
King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up

(Chorus Repeat)

Now the war is not over
Victory isn't won
And we'll fight on to the finish
Then when it's all done
We'll cry glory, oh glory
We'll cry glory, oh glory

Selma's now for every man, woman and child
Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd
They marched with the torch, we gon' run with it now
Never look back, we done gone hundreds of miles
From dark roads he rose, to become a hero
Facin' the league of justice, his power was the people
Enemy is lethal, a king became regal
Saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle
The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful
We sing, our music is the cuts that we bleed through
Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany
Now we right the wrongs in history
No one can win the war individually
It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people's energy
Welcome to the story we call victory
Comin' of the Lord, my eyes have seen the glory

(Chorus Repeat)

For more posts on God's multiethnic church and His transcultural Kingdom: 

Kainos Movement Conference


Unveiling the Transcultural Kingdom Conference

Multi-Ethnic Church and Reconciliation Songs, Books, Videos, and Posts

Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church | "Three Cord Bond" Lyrics Fuel the Flame of Desire for More Multi-Ethnic Churches in Worcester, MA | Necessary Prayers for a Multi-Ethnic Church in Worcester, MA | God's Multi-Ethnic Family | Letters to a Birmingham Jail

Next post: Martin Luther King Jr. Week | Three Messages on Racial Reconciliation and Racism

Christ is all,

+ Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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