Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prayer for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

From the United Methodist Book of Worship:

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 peace 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 directly 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 of 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 to us ...

We remember Martin's "hope that dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will 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.  Amen.


Quotations from Letter From the Birmingham City Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.