Here is a brief liturgy from a service on ‘MLK Sunday’ at an Episcopal Church in California. Also, posted below, the very famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. If you have not seen it in its entirety, I strongly recommend it and for this reason have again posted it below.
Minister: We hold these truths to be self-evident.
People: that all people are created equal.
Minister: Let justice roll down like waters,
People: and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
COLLECT OF THE DAY
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.
From “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”; a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City.
“This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept – so readily dismissed as a weak and cowardly force – has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of humankind. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door, which leads to ultimate reality.
This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. The one that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and God’s love is perfected in us. Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.
The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says: “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”
Minister: Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
People: Thanks be to God.
What is your dream? Who are you standing up for? How is your gospel really good news?