Martin Luther King, Jr. & Other Contemporary Prophets

January 20, 2019
Isaiah 9:2-5; Isaiah 62:1-4

This weekend we remember Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. 51 years after his death, with his own federal holiday, we are well into the process of making Dr King safe, sanitizing his dream.

We are tempted to congratulate ourselves for having come so far – then we see the videos of young (Christian ) white men taunting and harassing an indigenous man as he sings near the Lincoln Memorial – and we know there is a whole lot more work to do.

This morning we hear a few of the voices who stand on the shoulders of Dr King.

  • Lin Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame, reads Dr King’s Riverside speech.
  • Cornel West talks about how African Americans have made choices other than violence.
  • Tarana Burke, instigator of the #MeToo movement, talks about collective trauma and collective movement.
  • Rev Karen Curry, from SE DC, shares a spoken word piece at a recent Poor People’s Campaign rally.
  • Rev Dr Kelly Brown Douglas reminds us that we still have a choice to make.

We will hear scripture or sing a spiritual in response to each these voices.

In some churches this might all be deemed too political, and yet from Dr King  we learn that loving our neighbor is political, that acting in faith is political.

We might be accused of appropriating these voices, holding them tight as if they are our own. We might be accused of appropriating music, singing songs that come out of a pain and suffering that is not our own. We must be sensitive to this.

From Jesus we learn that loving God and neighbor is humbling and risky.

May our faith be strengthened, our compassion enlarged as we listen to these prophetic voices.