Prayer for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"[Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.], 8/28/1963" Original black and white negative by Rowland Scherman. Taken August 28th, 1963, Washington D.C, United States (The National Archives and Records Administration). Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd. U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. ca. 1953-ca. 1978.

God of all tribes and nations, today we remember and give thanks for your servant, Martin Luther King Jr. His words moved a nation toward justice and equity. His witness called forth the best of us, casting a vision of unity and reconciliation that we have yet to achieve.

We know that remembering the saints is not enough, and so we ask for the wisdom and strength to emulate their bravery, their tenacity and their willingness to stop at nothing to speak truth to power.

As we see the rise of hatred and white supremacy, the explosion of division and bigotry, we boldly ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Do again, Lord God, what you did at Pentecost, upend our expectations, break through our tribal loyalties, knit us together as one humanity, give us the ability to speak in each other’s languages, until all of us dream your dreams, see your visions, speak your words and not only understand each other, but long to be with one another.

On this day that is not simply a day on the calendar, but a day on which we serve and work, pray and hope, struggle and strive to bend the arc of history closer to justice, abide with us, inspire us, shape us into the people your prophets call us to be: united, beloved and a beautiful reflection of your glory. Amen.