Peacemakers of a New World

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to a crowd in San Francisco on June 30, 1964. In this black-and-white photograph, the humidity of the evening has cause a beam of light to appear surrounding King, as he gestures from a lectern.

Holy Spirit, God of Ages and so many names, we gather once again to rejoice in the light offered to the world by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

His walk on this earth was a gift to generations, and today we give thanks for that gift.
We know that we are called together today not simply to rejoice and be glad that such a man was given to us for a time, but rather to heed the calls he made to us—the same calls that reverberate now, as they did when he was alive; the same calls You have made time and time again, in a voice of justice that calls us throughout the ages.

We are called to hear that same Word of truth that Dr. King spoke: that the hungry and poor are with us still.

It is not enough to march and remember. The work we are called to do is to feed hungry children and to wipe the tears from our siblings' eyes.

It is not enough to sing a joyful song; we must also build the houses that will give shelter to every adult and child, and allow them full security and dignity.

We are called today to be remember that we are not to judge one another by the color of our skins, but by the content of our character.

In a world where our families are knit ever more tightly together past old ideas of color and race, we know that the tyranny of fear and hatred still exists in our hearts; we know that racism still lurks like a viper around unexpected corners.

And so we gather again to renew our promise to one another: that we will be vigilant. We will be warriors and peacemakers of a new world, a world that is always dawning—the Kindom of God, which is always at hand among people who work and pray and give thanks together.

Holy Spirit, on this day of remembrance we do give thanks, and we are joyful that for a time we had our brother and father, our pastor and leader, Dr. King, with us. But we do not forget that the mantle he wore for a time has been passed now to us—to each of us here gathered—and it is in our efforts, in our faithful struggle, and in our generous witness to a better world becoming, that we make our most powerful prayer of thanksgiving.

Thank you, Gracious One, for this day, and for all our many gifts. In a spirit of remembrance and a spirit of gratitude and hope, we set forth once again, with your guidance and strength, to make the world anew. Amen.