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  • Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Worship 2023


The Holy Eucharist

In Commemoration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pastor, Civil Rights Leader, and Martyr (1929-1968)

January 16, 2023

Celebrant: The Rt. Rev. Frank S. Logue, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia

Preacher: The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/


Give to JUST by selecting “Discretionary” from the drop-down menu at https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now



The Holy Eucharist: Rite II



LEV #1: Lift Every Voice and Sing


1. Lift ev’ry voice and sing, Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the list’ning skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us; Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; Facing the rising sun Of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won.


2. Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast’ning rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over away that with tears has been watered; We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered; Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.


3. God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast by thy might, Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee; Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee, Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand, True to our God, true to our native land.


[Words: James Weldon Johnson. Music J. Rosamond Johnson. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #95101. All rights reserved.]



The Opening Acclamation

[BCP, p. 355]


Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

And blessed be God's kingdom, now and forever! Amen!



A Collect for Purity

[BCP, p. 355]


Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Trisagion

[BCP, p. 356]


Holy God,

Holy and Mighty

Holy Immortal One,

Have mercy upon us.



The Collect of the Day

[Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, p. 172]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:


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 strive to 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 forever. Amen.



A Reading from the Book of Exodus (3:7-12)


7 Then the Lord said, “I’ve clearly seen my people oppressed in Egypt. I’ve heard their cry of injustice because of their slave masters. I know about their pain. 8 I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians in order to take them out of that land and bring them to a good and broad land, a land that’s full of milk and honey, a place where the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites all live. 9 Now the Israelites’ cries of injustice have reached me. I’ve seen just how much the Egyptians have oppressed them. 10 So get going. I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 God said, “I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you. After you bring the people out of Egypt, you will come back here and worship God on this mountain.”


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Psalm 77:11-20

[BCP, p. 693]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

11 I will remember the works of the LORD, * and call to mind your wonders of old time.

12 I will meditate on all your acts * and ponder your mighty deeds.

13 Your way, O God, is holy; * who is so great a god as our God?

14 You are the God who works wonders * and have declared your power among the peoples.

15 By your strength you have redeemed your people, * the children of Jacob and Joseph.

16 The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and trembled; *

the very depths were shaken.

17 The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; * your arrows flashed to and fro;

18 The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; * the earth trembled and shook.

19 Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, * yet your footsteps were not seen.

20 You led your people like a flock * by the hand of Moses and Aaron.



The People stand, as they are able, for the reading of the Gospel.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to Luke 6:27-36

Glory to you, Lord Christ.


27 [Jesus said,] “But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. 31 Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you. 32 “If you love those who love you, why should you be commended? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, why should you be commended? Even sinners do that. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, why should you be commended? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be paid back in full. 35 Instead, love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way children of the Most High act, for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people. 36 Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.


The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



The Sermon

"Our Work Is Not Done" by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector


We are here today to honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom The Episcopal Church recognizes as a prophet and martyr. Unfortunately, his prophetic message has been softened and defanged in the decades since the US started celebrating this holiday. King is remembered as a nice, persistent man who wanted civil rights and succeeded. That is partially true. But during King’s lifetime, he was hated by many White conservatives and was unpopular with most White moderates and liberals. King’s vision for our country and our world was far more radical than simply achieving civil rights. He wanted to see God’s Dream for humanity fulfilled. He wanted genuine equality and equity between people of all races. And today, our country remains nearly as far from that goal as we were on April 4, 1968, King’s last day on this earth.


Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929, in Atlanta, GA. King was raised in a world in which Black people endured the indignation of legal racial segregation, called Jim Crow laws, and countless other forms of racist discrimination and dehumanization in American society. He rose to national prominence while he was pastoring a church in Montgomery, AL. In December 1955, NAACP leader Rosa Parks was arrested there for defying segregation laws on the public bus. King, Parks, and other local leaders organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This boycott used nonviolent resistance tactics to hurt the city economically until they met the demands of Black leaders for equal, respectful treatment. The boycott lasted over a year, and because of his leadership role, King was arrested, he faced death threats, and his home was bombed by White segregationists. By the end of 1956, the boycott succeeded in desegregating Montgomery’s bus system, but his work for civil rights had just begun.


King later founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and their organizing efforts led to the passage of several federal Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts in the 1960s. These gave Black people the opportunity to share public facilities, some federal protections from discrimination in parts of society, and access to the vote. (Unfortunately, the Supreme Court dramatically weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and we’re seeing the consequences in this state and around the country.) But King never intended to stop there. Civil rights and voting rights are the bare minimum for equal treatment in a country founded upon racism. These achievements were the beginning, not the end.


In the late 1960s, King turned his attention to the great evils of American militarism and poverty. He believed that America could never heal its racism without addressing its striking economic inequality at home and its greed-fueled imperialism abroad. King’s popularity plummeted when he began to criticize the Vietnam War and demand jobs and benefits for workers of all races. He and the SCLC launched the Poor People’s Campaign in early 1968, and planned to lead another March on Washington to demand economic relief. Lamentably, King was murdered before this event took place and the SCLC lost momentum in the Poor People’s Campaign.


Dr. King’s prophetic message about the conjoined evils of racism, poverty, and militarism rings true today. We still have stark economic inequality in our country. Poverty and homelessness still run rampant. The US continues to meddle in foreign conflicts to gain economic and political influence (see El Salvador, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more). Violent racism still threatens Black communities and other people of color. Systemic racism is still visible in police, prisons, and courts; housing; job access; the racial wealth gap; education and funding gaps; and almost every other sector of American society. What I’m saying is: King’s work is not done. Our work is not done.


Because Dr. King’s concern for poor people and people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and nationalities is rooted in the Good News of Jesus Christ. In the multiracial Poor People’s coalition, King saw God’s “people oppressed in Egypt,” and he raised the “cry of injustice” (Exodus 3:7). God sent him to the modern-day Pharaohs to demand freedom, justice, and equity (3:10). And God is calling Christians today to do the same. Our “cries of injustice” continue to reach God’s ears (3:9), and God promises to be with us in the struggle (3:12).


We face many problems in this country, state, and city. There are lots of avenues to try to address them. But the only way the Pharaohs, power-players, public officials, and wealthy executives will listen is if we demonstrate organized people power. Like King’s boycotts and Marches on Washington, people working together toward a common cause can overcome systems of injustice.


In Chatham County, St. Matthew’s, St. Peter’s, and 20 other congregations of other denominations and religions, are working together to address local community problems. JUST (Justice Unites Savannah Together) is an interfaith coalition that is working right now to fund affordable housing in our city, address underperformance in our county public school system, and challenge inequities in our county court system. The congregations and people of JUST are trying to obey God’s desire for social justice and follow in the footsteps of prophets like Martin Luther King, Jr.


We’re dedicating our offering today to JUST’s organizing work. If your church is already a member of JUST, then talk to your team leaders and find a way to get involved. If your church is in Chatham County and isn’t already a member of JUST, consider this a formal invitation to join. If not JUST, find another way to plug into a movement for social change. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Our society has come a long way since 1955. But we’re not where God is calling us to be yet. As Karsten Tyson said in his sermon yesterday, “We ain’t come this far, just to come this far.” And the Church knows that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17). We can and should celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with parades and holidays, Eucharist and food. But we must also be willing to speak up against the Pharaohs of our world and fight for a better future, with God’s vision of justice in mind. May God give us holy imagination, grace, and courage to continue in the struggle. Amen.



The Prayers of the People

[Adapted from https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ogr/episcopal-litany-for-social-justice/]


Brothers and Sisters: God commands us through Jesus Christ to love one another. In baptism, we promise to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves and to strive for justice and peace, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Let us now honor those vows and pray for our nation, for wise and just leaders, and for the needs of others throughout our country and the world.


We pray for continued blessings on all peacemakers, on leaders who value peace, and on everyone who promotes nonviolent solutions to conflict. We pray for a speedy end to all violence and warfare around the world. God of peace and gentleness,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for the strength of heart and mind to look beyond ourselves and address the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world; for the rural and urban poor; for the rebuilding of our communities; and for an end to the cycles of violence that threaten our future. God of generosity and compassion,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for all nations, that they may live in unity, peace, and concord; and that all people may know justice and enjoy the perfect freedom that only God can give. God of liberty and freedom,

Hear our prayer.


We pray that the Holy Spirit may embrace the most vulnerable members of our society; we pray also for an end to the growing disparity between the rich and poor; and for the grace and courage to strive for economic justice. God of all gifts and blessings,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for an end to prejudice throughout our country and the world; that we will respect all people as precious children of God; and that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of discrimination will be forever banished from our hearts, our society, and our laws. God of fellowship and equality,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for a reverence of creation; that we will have the tools and the will to conserve it; that we will use its bountiful resources in the service of others; and that we will become better stewards of all that has been entrusted to us. God of nature and the universe,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for all immigrants, refugees, and pilgrims from around the world, that they may be welcomed in our midst and be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. God of outcasts and wanderers,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for the sick, the aged and the infirm; for those with physical or mental disabilities; that all may have access to proper health care; and that God's loving embrace may be felt by all who suffer. God of comfort and healing,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for all prisoners and captives; that a spirit of forgiveness may replace vengeance and retribution; and that we, with all the destitute, lonely, and oppressed, may be restored to the fullness of God’s grace. God of absolution and mercy,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for all children and families, and particularly for the orphaned, neglected, abused, and those who live in fear of violence or disease; that they may be relieved and protected. God of children and families,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for the reconciliation of all people, and for the Church throughout the world, that it may be an instrument of your healing love. God of outreach and restoration,

Hear our prayer.


We pray for all who have died as a result of violence, war, disease or famine, especially those who died because of human blindness, neglect, or hardness of heart. God of eternal life and resurrecting love,

Hear our prayer.


The Bishop concludes:

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.



Parish Announcements

Sign up for our e-Newsletter at https://tinyurl.com/StMattSavNews


Reception to Follow in Parish Hall: Join us in Toomer-Walker Hall after communion to eat lunch and enjoy fellowship with one another. Thanks to St. Matthew's ECW for preparing this meal!


Diocesan ECW Board Meeting 1/21/23: This Saturday, St. Matthew’s will host the Diocese of Georgia’s ECW Board Meeting from 10:00 AM - 12:00 noon. All ECW members are invited to attend to learn more about Diocese-wide ECW initiatives.



The Offertory

[BCP, p. 376]


The collection this morning will be directed to JUST (Justice Unites Savannah Together), a local interfaith justice advocacy organization. Its purpose is to build a powerful vehicle through which people of faith can hold the local systems accountable for fair policies and resource allocation. Our 2023 goals include addressing public education, affordable housing, and access to free, fair, and speedy court trials. Our inspiration comes from the Prophet who says that all that the Lord requires of us is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church are founding members of this organization.


Give to JUST by selecting “Discretionary” from the drop-down menu at https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now


NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.


"Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God." [Ephesians 5:2]



LEV #221: This Little Light of Mine


1 This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


2 Ev’ry where I go, I’m gonna let it shine, Ev’ry where I go, I’m gonna let it shine, Ev’ry where I go, I’m gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


3 Jesus gave it to me, I’m gonna let it shine, Jesus gave it to me, I’m gonna let it shine, Jesus gave it to me, I’m gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


[Words: Traditional. Music: Negro Spiritual; arr. Horace Clarence Boyer, Copyright © 1992 Horace Clarence Boyer. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #EXS00313SD. All rights reserved.]



AAHH #651: Doxology

[See also Hymn # 380, v. 3]


Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.


[Words: Thomas Ken, Public Domain. Music: Old 100th, attributed to Louis Bourgeois, Public Domain. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84260. All rights reserved.]



Eucharistic Prayer A

[BCP, p. 361]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.


It is right and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth because in Jesus Christ our Lord you have received us as your sons and daughters, made us citizens of your kingdom, and given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Therefore, we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever say this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:


Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


The people stand or kneel.


Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.


He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.


On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."


After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."


Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.


We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.


Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.


All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.



The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.



The Breaking of the Bread

[BCP, p. 364, 407]


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us!

Therefore let us keep the feast! Alleluia!


Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

Grant us your peace.


Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The Gifts of God for the people of God.



LEV #152: Let Us Break Bread Together


1. Let us break bread together on our knees

Let us break bread together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

with my face to the rising sun,

Oh Lord, have mercy on me


2. Let us drink wine together on our knees

Let us drink wine together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

with my face to the rising sun,

Oh Lord, have mercy on me


3. Let us praise God together on our knees

Let us praise God together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

with my face to the rising sun,

Oh Lord, have mercy on me


[Words: Traditional. Music: Negro Spiritual; arr. Carl Haywood, Copyright © 1992 The Haywood Collection of Negro Spirituals. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84125. All rights reserved.]



LEV #148: I’m a-Going to Eat at the Welcome Table


1. I’m a-going to eat at the welcome table, I’m a-going to eat at the welcome table, some of these days. I’m a-going to eat at the welcome table, I’m a-going to eat at the welcome table, some of these days.


2. I’m a-going to feast on milk and honey, I’m a-going to feast on milk and honey, some of these days. I’m a-going to feast on milk and honey, I’m a-going to feast on milk and honey, some of these days.


3. I’m a-going to fly all around in heaven, I’m a-going to fly all around in heaven, some of these days. I’m a-going to fly all around in heaven, I’m a-going to fly all around in heaven, some of these days.


4. I’m a-going to wade cross Jordan’s river, I’m a-going to wade cross Jordan’s river, some of these days. I’m a-going to wade cross Jordan’s river, I’m a-going to wade cross Jordan’s river, some of these days.


[Words: Traditional. Music: Negro Spiritual; arr. Carl Diton, Copyright © 1930 G. Schirmer, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #202568. All rights reserved.]



The Post-Communion Prayer

[BCP, p. 365]


Let us pray.


For In-Person Worshippers:

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


For Online Worshippers and Those Receiving Spiritual Communion:

Faithful God, in the wonder of your wisdom and love you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels, and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life. Though we cannot consume now these gifts of bread [and wine], we thank you that we have received the sacrament of Christ’s presence, the forgiveness of sins, and all other benefits of Christ’s passion. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we embody your desire and be renewed for your service through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.



The Blessing of the People



LEVAS #227: We Shall Overcome


1. We shall overcome, we shall overcome,

We shall overcome someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall overcome someday


2. We’ll walk hand in hand,

We’ll walk hand in hand

We’ll walk hand in hand today

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We’ll walk hand in hand today


3. God is on our side, God is on our side

God is on our side today

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

God is on our side today


4. We are not afraid, we are not afraid

We are not afraid today

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We are not afraid today


5. We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace

We shall live in peace someday

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall live in peace someday


[Words: Traditional. Music: Negro Spiritual; arr. Carl Haywood, Copyright © 1992 The Haywood Collection of Negro Spirituals. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #88613. All rights reserved.]



The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]


Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit!

Thanks be to God!



About the Feast of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The Episcopal Church recognizes Dr. King annually on its calendar of saints on April 4, the day of his martyrdom. The celebration may be transferred to January 15 or the day of civic observance (the third Monday in January). Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 says the following about Dr. King:


Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929, in Atlanta. As the son and grandson of Baptist preachers, he was steeped in the Black Church tradition. Following graduation from Morehouse College in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary, having been ordained the previous year into the ministry of the National Baptist Church. He graduated from Crozer in 1951 and received a doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955.


In 1954, King became pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama. There, Black indignation at inhumane treatment on segregated buses culminated in December, 1955, in the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. King was catapulted into national prominence as the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott. He became increasingly [a] prophet, who could not only rally the Black masses, but could also move the consciences of Whites.


King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to spearhead non-violent mass demonstrations against racism. Many confrontations followed, most notably in Birmingham and Selma, Alabama, and in Chicago. King’s campaigns were instrumental to the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 1965, and 1968. King then turned his attention to economic empowerment of the poor and to opposition to the Vietnam War, contending that racism, poverty, and militarism were interrelated. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his commitment to non-violent social change.


King lived in constant danger: his home was dynamited, he was almost fatally stabbed, and he was harassed by death threats. He was even jailed 30 times; but through it all he was sustained by his deep faith. In 1957, he received, late at night, a vicious telephone threat. Alone in his kitchen he wept and prayed. He relates that he heard the Lord speaking to him and saying, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness, stand up for justice,” and promising never to leave him alone—“No, never alone.” King refers to his vision as his “Mountain-Top Experience.”


After preaching at Washington [Episcopal] Cathedral on March 31st, 1968, King went to Memphis in support of sanitation workers in their struggle for better wages. There, he proclaimed that he had been “to the mountain-top” and had seen “the Promised Land,” and that he knew that one day he and his people would be “free at last.” On the following day, April 4th, he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet.


The cover image is an icon of Dr. King written by the hand of Brother Robert Lentz, OFM, a Roman Catholic Franciscan friar in Silver Spring, MD. The icon is available for purchase at https://www.trinitystores.com/artwork/martin-luther-king-georgia. His artist narrative reads as follows:


From 1955 until his death, [King] led a campaign of nonviolent resistance in the United States against racial oppression and injustice. The number he wears around his neck is from a “mug shot” taken one of the many times he was arrested by American police for resisting unjust laws. The prison bars behind him represent the occasions he was placed in jail, and also the oppression and slavery of [African]-Americans in the United States. The text on his scroll is from his speech in Albany, Georgia, on December 14, 1961. The Greek inscription by his head reads, “Holy Martin.” Since the eighteenth century, the faith of African American Christians in America has been tied to the struggle for freedom. Martin Luther King renewed the bond between faith and political action like the Old Testament prophets. Although his life was threatened many times, he continued to expose himself to danger. He was shot on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.



The Parish Prayer List


PRAYER LIST: Martha Avery, Mary Bonaparte, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Aaron Duplechien, Jr., Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Betty Milledge, Jeannette Outing, and Jewel Wheeler.


BIRTHDAYS: Virginia Farley (1/16), Kathleen Carrington (1/20), and Jackie Newton (1/21)


WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES: Daniel & Marva Harris (1/20)


RECENT DEATHS: N/A

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.



Permissions and Credits: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), Enriching Our Worship 1 (EOW1), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

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