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Reflections on this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2017

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Today we honor the life, legacy, work, and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  To say that we are deeply indebted to this preacher, prophet, and visionary leader would be a gross understatement. His message of audacious faith and hope in the face of oppression and injustice beckons us all to continue to pursue his dream of true equality and justice for all.

Several years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Atlanta as a part of a seminary course on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught by noted King scholar Dr. Rufus Burrow, Jr. The most important and transformative moment of this journey was our visit to the Robert W. Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center. Our group was escorted into a small room in the library where spread out before us was a small portion of the expansive collection of original Dr. King documents from the Morehouse College King Collection - handwritten notes for and early copies of “A Knock at Midnight” and “Letters from the Birmingham Jail,…

Today, I Will Fail...

Today, I will commit myself to... stand with the oppressed; speak alongside not for those who have had their voices silenced; work toward justice for those who struggle daily for their human rights; demand equality and equity for all; seek to understand life experiences that are not like mine; listen to the perspectives of others; treat everyone with respect; see all people as fully human; honor the dignity of every person. I will not do this perfectly. I ask for your forgiveness in advance for when I will fail. Please tell me when I have fallen short if I am not aware of the shortcoming. I commit myself to doing this today. Tomorrow, I will try again.

Fear's toxicity

Fear's noxious fumes
are odorless
and intoxicating.
They numb all
who inhale them
in a self-protective daze
of paranoia
eventually stealing
their final breath.

Love,
justice,
mercy,
healing,
and grace
are the oxygen
that overcome
fear's vapor
revitalizing humanity
with every breath
to be more fully human.
May we find the courage
to breathe deeply
this refreshing air.

This Epiphany

In this Epiphany, this season of luminosity, I long to seek the Light. Yet simultaneously I find myself strangely attracted to the darkness. For there in the shadows I don't have to give name to that which is hidden therein.
There is a false sense of comfort hiding under this shroud of concealment.
It is a painful journey to speak the truth to self; to name that which hides in the shadows; to come toward the light. This is where healing begins. Revealed; naked; exposed as me
before the One who knew me from the start in this Epiphany.

My resolve

Ready or not, here we go.
The calendar has flipped,
and we find ourselves
standing exposed at the beginning of the unknown;
standing unsure before something new;
standing vulnerable in uncharted territory.
There is so much to worry about.
There are so many uncertainties.
There are so many what ifs.
Faith,
Hope,
Love
Feel threatened.

But
here and now
today and tomorrow
for the new year
I declare
my resolve...
to believe the best about those around me;
to stand up for the rights of all;
to seek justice for the oppressed;
to own my privilege;
to understand my preconceptions and prejudices;
to work against systems that perpetuate them all;
to call out hatred;
to hold my beliefs with confidence in open hands;
to listen to all perspectives;
to honor the humanity of everyone;
to see beauty in the world;
to learn more about that which feels threatening;
to fight for those who are othered because of
     their gender identity,
     their sex,
     their sexual orientation,
     their religion

Prayer for a New Year

God of all time and space,
of all our endings and new beginnings,
we cling to your promised presence in the midst of both
as well as in the journey of life that happens in between.
As we stand before the unknown of the coming year
grant us the peace and grace to meet all of our yet to be's
with the comfort and confidence that come through your Spirit.

Lord of that which was and that which is yet to be,
much has transpired throughout these last twelve months -
many comings and goings,
failures and successes,
celebrations and sorrows,
regrets and joys.
Fill us with the strength to move through the difficulties we have faced
and the remorse over that which we have left undone.
Grant us a new found energy and commitment as we face that which is to come.

Transform us into instruments of your grace.
When we pray your kingdom come,
may it be evidenced not only in our words,
but also in the sweat of our brow
and the callouses on our hands.
Where there is injury,
     may we work toward he…