- Henry Prater
Martin Luther King Jr.
Hello Edgemont Family, Yesterday, Monday January 18th, our nation celebrated the holiday that remembers and honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Growing up, I remember learning about Dr. King and his legacy. We would watch clips of his “I have a Dream” speech and read about the Montgomery bus boycott. We learned about his untimely death and how it was our responsibility to carry on the work he and so many others began. It was not, however, until I was in seminary that I read any of Dr. King’s writings. In particular, I remember that we read his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in one of my Christian Ethics classes. In this letter, Dr. King answered the concerns raised by local clergy to the efforts of his group. This is a challenging letter to read, even to this day. One of the passages that has stuck with me is below: Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. 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. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider. (I encourage you to read the whole letter, which can be viewed at https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/letter-birmingham-jail) In the divided time we find ourselves in the United States today, this passage reminds me of our duty as Christians to oppose injustice as well as to recognize that we are all in this together. Something that harms one of us, harms all of us. It is our responsibility as followers of Christ Jesus to do what we can to build up those around us. Micah 6:6-8 reminds us that,
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Church, my prayer for us is that we can truly live out the final part of those verses. O God, help us each day to act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you. With Christ’s Love, Pastor Henry