Christians are called to many things. In remembering the promises of God and meditating on all his acts, pondering his mighty deeds, we pray the Collect for today, ‘Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last; Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.’
A controversial figure, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs, he exhibited showing mercy as our Father in heaven shows mercy.
Owen Chadwick tellingly wrote, ‘The Church is received, corrupted, adapted, institutionalized — all societies move in history. There are always new intellectual habits, new moral predicaments.’
Much like the psalmist who wrote that as the clouds pour water and the skies thunder, arrows will flash to and fro, God’s people will go forward in faith, following footsteps not seen (Ps 77).
And so goes the Church, always alive and constantly moving forward. In his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Dr. King said, ‘With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.’