January 15, 2018

Until justice that rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24)
They say a picture can say a thousand words.
There are many pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr.; this is a product of his time and work.  He was a great orator, so there are pictures of him standing at a podium giving addresses.  He was a great social activist, so there are pictures of him marching, organizing, and rallying the masses.  He was a relational person, who believed in the power of creating communities of support—this is why there are pictures of him with his arms around others in moments of consultation and encouragement.
One of my favorite pictures is of him after leading a Sunday morning worship service.  Pictured on the front steps of a church, he is dressed in his full clergy robe.  His smile is radiant.  His flock is before him. It looks like one of those days when everyone is looking forward with hope as to what God can do in this world. For me, as a person who came to the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr through his work as a social activitist—this picture is powerful.
It is powerful because it reminds us of his true power in life—a churchgoer, leader, clergy person, and shepherd of the flock. It is compelling because it reminds me of the people barely caught in the frame–those many faces and voices who bear the torch of freedom that God has given us. This picture reminds me of the purpose of the church universal.  We might speak different languages and have various statements of faith, but we all are part of God’s plan to do amazing things in this world. We are difference makers at heart.  It is not because we are so wonderful that we can make a difference, but because God is great in and through us that we are called to something different.
Yes, indeed a picture is worth a thousand words. Today we remember the significant accomplishments of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We remember the accomplishments of those he has inspired and those who have come after him.  We recall the achievements of the great men and women whose shoulders bore the weight of Rev. King’s aspirations. Most importantly, we remember our call. In the grace-soaked love of Jesus Christ, we recognize our call. We are called to be people who proclaim a justice that rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Let us not be full until everyone at the table has had a sustaining meal.  For we know that God is working in every nation, at every place, and for the sake of every people so that they may know freedom. God does not create places of garbage nor does God create nations of excrement. We are ignited today under the tutelage of the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be difference makers with our voices, our hands, our feet, and most importantly with our hearts.
~Pastor Jon Bailey

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