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« Watson to South Asia | Main | a different Maundy Thursday... »
Wednesday
Apr092008

April 4th ~ 40 yrs later

On Friday, April 4th I attended the Vigil at the Lorraine Hotel on the 40th Anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. I was there with two other pastors from Living Hope, J.R. Rozko who serves as the young adult pastor and Greg Jackson who is the Youth Pastor. I was asked by Living Hope to write an article for the website about attending the event. Below is the article as well as two pictures. In the picture of the balcony you can see Dr. King's son, Martin King III and his daughter Bernice along with Rev. Al Sharpton.

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*Why I went to the 40th Anniversary Vigil of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. *

It’s an overcast Friday afternoon. I’m standing on a rain soaked patch of lawn. To my left is the building from which an assassin pointed his rifle and shot Martin Luther King, Jr. In front of me is the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel, the balcony where King was standing and then lay dying 40 years ago on this very day, at this very hour.

But I’m not here to mourn. I’m here to celebrate a man and a movement that began before I was born. I am here to remember something that I didn’t personally live; something outside the years of my life’s life yet something that has shaped and continues to shape who I am, who I hope to be and who I hope my sons will become.

I’m here because I want my church to be here. I am here because I long for Living Hope to be a community of faith that King would be proud of. A community that loves God, loves God’s world and follows Jesus courageously and radically. A community that recognizes the personal, corporate and systemic ways sin can destroy and righteousness can heal. A community that sees, as King saw, the links between racism, materialism and violence. A community that groans for and acts on behalf of the Kingdom of God. A community that more beautifully reflects the Beloved Community that is found in and through Christ.

I’m here, because I sense God’s Spirit is here. And I like being where the Spirit shows up. Psalm 116:14 says that the death of God’s faithful is valuable in the LORD’s sight, so in some ways, that balcony is an Ebenezer, a memorial to God’s redemptive work in a broken world, and a reminder that Satan’s tools of violence cannot overcome God’s instruments of peace.

On this holy day wherein people gather to remember the life and death of a King, I too want to gather with those affected, influenced and changed by Dr. King. And as I’m here, I reflect on the death of another King; another execution that took place on a Friday, about this hour, 2000 years ago. A King who, like Martin, came preaching a different Kingdom, proclaiming good news to the oppressed, announcing another world order, spoke truth to those in power, stood in solidarity with the poor and came seeking and saving the lost.

I’m humbled to be here, in this sacred place surrounded by these sacred people. I’m honored to be singing hymns (We Shall Overcome) with this congregation gathered at the Lorraine. And I’m thankful for the Baptist preacher who helped us imagine a world more rightly ordered around the life and teachings of Christ.

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Reader Comments (4)

You write beautifully. Your life and your words are an inspiration.

April 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

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November 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternoidpd noidpd

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April 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjordan pas cher femme

Thank you, Matthew for helping us to meditate on how our brother, Dr. King, was a model for us. God's word was living and active in him and he was faithful to respond to the commands in it. He causes me to ponder what God might accomplish through me if I were willing to die to myself. The world focuses on his actions and further politicizes it. The world largely ignores why Dr. King did what he did “This is the most important,” Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” - Mark 12:29-31 http://bit.ly/OagPSk

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRon

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