How will you be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day this weekend? We will be celebrating this holiday in our worship in all three services and invite you to join in.
One time when I was leading a Bible study, we were looking at one of the prophets from the Old Testament. A man in the group asked me to give him a modern day equivalent. I thought for a minute and then offered that Martin Luther King Jr. might be an example of a modern day prophet. Another man in the group quickly objected. He said, “I don’t think Martin Luther King Jr. is a prophet. I think he is a scoundrel.” He went on to mention allegations of infidelity. The man also shared that there was a lot of unrest in his hometown in the late 1950s and early 1960s, which he blamed on the influence of Dr. King. Another time I talked with someone who had a very different but also somewhat negative view. He said that Martin Luther King Jr. was a patsy. That was not a word I hear very often and I asked him what he meant. He explained that while Martin Luther King Jr. was courageous, his ideas about nonviolence and a colorblind society were used by those in power (especially moderate whites) to pacify the people and actually work against real change. Only power and force lead to liberty from the oppressors who benefit from keeping minorities in their places. Martin Luther King Jr., he said, was foolish to think those in power would share that power without a real fight. He then pointed out that Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered and all these years later we have a nice holiday but minorities still live under oppressive discrimination.
This weekend in worship I want to ask you whether you think Dr. King was a Prophet, Scoundrel or Patsy. I also want to think about what Dr. King would be talking to us about if he were still alive today. Finally, I want to think about what it really means to celebrate MLK Day.
At our 9:30 worship service this weekend, we will welcome two new members to our church community, Gordon and Deanna Lustfeldt. Be sure to look for Gordon and Deanna and give them a warm welcome.
I look forward to worshipping with you this weekend.
There are many great opportunities to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. These can be fun but can also help us grow as individuals and as followers of Jesus Christ. They are great learning opportunities for all of us, and especially our children. One of the opportunities this weekend is a community worship service at Our Savior Lutheran Church (1510 North Main) at 3:00 p.m on Sunday. The service will feature readings form Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” Pastor Kent will be one of the leaders in this service.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY QUIZ
- When does MLK Day take place?
- What is the actual birth date of Martin Luther King Jr.?
- From what institution did Martin Luther King Jr. receive a doctorate in 1955?
- Which President signed into law the bill to create a national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday?
- Which U.S. Senator led the resistance to this holiday and led a filibuster in 1983?
- What international award did Martin Luther King Jr. receive in 1964?
- What year was Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated?
- MLK Day takes place the 3rd Monday in January.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929.
- Boston University awarded Martin Luther King Jr. a doctorate in Systematic Theology in 1955. Dr. King was an ordained minister who served churches in Georgia and Alabama.
- President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on November 2, 1983. Even after the bill was signed there was some resistance. It would be the year 2000 before the holiday was observed in all 50 states.
- Senator Jesse Helms led much of the resistance in Washington DC., claiming that MLK was not important enough to receive such an honor and claiming that he was a communist sympathizer.
- In 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.