Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Second Sunday of Easter and Commemoration of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-- BCP, page 224

 Easter II Texts

Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133;
1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

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.

-- Lesser Feasts and Fasts, page 227

 Dr. King's Texts

Genesis 3:17b-20; Psalm 77:11-20;
Ephesians 6:10-20; Luke 6:27-36

In an eloquent letter to the clergy of the diocese, our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, recently wrote:

The 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will occur on April 4 of this year. Of course, Dr. King's story is now deeply woven into our hearts and minds. The pre-eminent leader of the Civil Rights movement, he was awarded a Nobel Prize for his prophetic and courageous ministry. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, at age 39 in Memphis, Tenn., where he had gone to support striking sanitation workers in their struggle for better wages.

Dr. King's life was devoted to encouraging all in America to stand up for equality, justice, and peace. He wielded those tenets of the Gospel to lead a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s and 60s that sought to end racism and provide for legal equality for African-Americans, to end economic injustices, and to oppose international conflict. He is enshrined as a "Modern Martyr" in England's Canterbury Cathedral, one of only two Americans so honored, the other being Jonathan Daniels, the Episcopal seminarian who died protecting a young African-American girl from a shotgun blast (you may remember that the Diocese of Virginia commemorated the 50th anniversary of Daniels' martyrdom in 2015). Dr. King's words inspired Jonathan Daniels, and they continue to inspire those who seek justice and an end to inequality around the world.

Therefore, I am permitting, and indeed strongly encouraging, churches across our diocese to designate Sunday, April 8, being the Sunday closest to Dr. King's day on our Church calendar, as our diocesan-wide commemoration of the life and legacy of one of our nation's most inspiring witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fifty years later, we know that Dr. King's dream of equality and opportunity for men and women everywhere, regardless of color or creed, is rooted in the knowledge that we are all God's children. We also know the dream is not yet realized for all. So, let us reflect upon, honor, and, with courage, follow the example of a man who showed us how to live into our Baptismal Covenant. May doing so help us grow in love and become the "beloved community" he hoped would be achieved.
Following our Bishop's encouragement, we will commemorate Dr. King this Sunday.

I rang the church bells 39 times on Wednesday evening, as did many churches throughout the country. No, he was not perfect; none of God's people ever have been nor will be on this side of the Communion of Saints. But God used him; and he still speaks to us today with words that convict and convert us. May we consecrate our lives to love God and love our neighbor with all our hearts, our minds, and all our strength.

Under the Mercy,

Fr. Daniel+

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