Posted on January 17, 2022
It is such a joy and a privilege to be with you this morning and especially to be alongside my dear friend and colleague Reverend J. Anthony Lloyd. I feel immensely honored and blessed to have the opportunity to deliver today’s invocation. I am ever so grateful to be here, surrounded by friends committed to the non-violent work of Dr. King; in the shadow of Saturday’s horrific attack on a synagogue in Texas, I give thanks that all four hostages were freed and returned safely to their families.
As we come here together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there is so much for which we must be grateful. Through his actions he changed our country and our world for the better. We are the privileged ones who live our lives in the shadow of this giant who walked among us. And at the same time we must remember that there is so much still to do; we are the ones tasked with the responsibility of continuing his work and legacy. And today there is an urgency to hear his call and to act.
When I think about Dr. King I think about Moses. In our shared Bible we read of Moses, a humble man who stood against the highest power in the land; the man who came before Pharaoh and declared “Let my people go.” It was Moses who led the Israelites from slavery to freedom, crossing over the parted sea and then singing a joyful song of liberation. And it was Moses who cared for each and every member of his flock, through the long years in the wilderness; leading them to the brink of the Promised Land, but unable to enter. Moses climbed up the mountain, looked out over the Promised Land, but had to rely on the next generation to complete the journey.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was our modern-day Moses; he cared for us, he led us, and he stood on the mountain top and looked out over the Promised Land. He shared that vision with us, and he led us to the banks of the Jordan. But just like Moses, he knew that it would be our responsibility, the next generation, who would have to complete the journey.
In a place where people are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin, in a country where the right to vote is selectively implemented, and in a world where the pandemic of racism and prejudice continues to rage – we know that we are not yet in the Promised Land. But we know that together we can get there.
On this day, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, we should celebrate how far we have come, the progress that has been made, and the way that he changed our world forever and for the better. But we must also recognize our responsibility to hear his voice, fulfil his legacy, and complete the journey to the Promised Land together.
And so I offer this prayer.
Modim Anachnu Lach Adonai Eloheinu v’Elohei Avoteinu v’Imoteinu
We give thanks to You, Adonai, our God and the God of our Ancestors. Thank You for providing us with this opportunity to come together in fellowship and community, in the midst of a challenging time for our society and our world we are grateful to be united in Your Divine presence.
Thank you for the gift of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., your Prophet whom you shared with us. He taught us that all people are betzelem Elohim – created in the image of God, he led us Tzedek Tzedek tirdof – in the pursuit of justice, and he set an example vahvta lerecha k’mocha – to love our neighbor as ourselves. Through his life he fulfilled the original covenantal promise given to Abraham and Sarah veheyeh brachah .. venivrechu vecha kol mishpachat haadamah – And you shall be a blessing … and through you all the families of the earth will be blessed. He was a blessing and we were blessed through him.
But today we also pray: Tzur Yisrael, kuma be’ezrat kol haolam – Rock of Israel, rise up in support of all people and give us the strength to continue the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We commit ourselves to continue his fight, to fulfil his legacy, and to complete his journey to the Promised Land. We will not rest until we have crossed over the Jordan; to establish a world built on equality and friendship, love and kindness, justice and righteousness. Together we will establish a Promised Land worthy of Dr. King and worthy of You, Adonai our God.
And let us say, Amen.