On this the celebration of the birth and life of Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded that as a pastor and Christian leader, Dr. King remains a lasting and important influence in my own life. His Biblical prayers to our Lord clearly informed his leadership and gave him a clear sense of mission and purpose that changed the United States and the world.
For example, this prayer from Dr. King distills how he loved and how he served:
“Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.”
As Dr. King faced oppression and opposition with non-violence, dignity, and prayer; and as he faced his challenges with the hope we all have in Jesus Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture, may you be emboldened to love God, to love one another, to stand for the Truth, and to seek justice, even as we face adversity and persecution in our own day. He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8, ESV).
Your brother in Christ,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America