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More cautious than courageous?

The Rev. Rainey Dankel
January 17, 2019

Last April, we held a service to commemorate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the 50th anniversary of his martyrdom.  As part of that service, we heard excerpts from two of Dr. King’s works, a sermon on “Love Your Enemies,” and “A Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

I was struck by the timeliness of Dr. King’s words, addressed to people of faith all those years ago, as fresh for me as today’s headlines.  So this Sunday we are going to offer longer excerpts from one of those works, the letter penned in 1963 while Dr. King was in a city jail, arrested for taking part in a peaceful demonstration.  It seems an appropriate way to mark the annual celebration of Dr. King’s life and ministry.

Dr. King’s letter is specifically addressed to leaders of faith communities, so it is natural to consider ourselves as the recipients.  We ask ourselves, “Have we made any progress since 1963?”  Is Dr. King still correct in his assessment that moderate church people are “more cautious than courageous?”

I hope you will be present on Sunday at the Forum when we hear these provocative words, spoken in love for the Church.  I hope you will be willing to reflect on our present circumstances with the benefit of Dr. King’s call to action.  I look forward to hearing what you have to say, as we make our way as people of faith, committed to the God who calls to “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.”

Faithfully and fondly,

The Rev. Rainey Dankel

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