Pastor’s ponderings

On Monday, January 17th, our nation will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Since 1986, we have set aside the third Monday in January in honor of the Civil Rights leader.  As such, I thought that today’s pondering should have some focus on Rev. Dr. King and the cause he led. 

            I was blessed to recently read a letter he wrote in August 1963 while in jail in Birmingham, Alabama.  This letter, which is now simply entitled, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” was in response to some concern and commentary he had received from some other religious leaders asking that he stop his endeavor for fear of what it may do to society; that perhaps now was not the time for such radical change. To this he responded with a multi-page, hand-written letter, of which I offer you a few lines for your consideration:

            “Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried their ‘thus saith the Lord’ far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ practically to every hamlet and city of the Greco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown.”

            “There was a time when the church was very powerful.  It was during that period that the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed.  In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was the thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”

            “If the church today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”

            “I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour.”

            As we continue to ponder the future of the church, both locally and globally, how do you see Rev. Dr. King’s words affecting what we are called to do today?  I think they are just as pertinent now as they were nearly 58 years ago.

                                                                        Pastor Steve

            To read the letter in its entirety, which I highly recommend to everyone, you need only search for King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on the internet (I found it at ), from which all above quotations were taken.

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