The silencing of a prophet

We remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on this day. This April will be the 50th anniversary of his death. He wasn’t yet 40 when he was struck down. 

As I read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” again this year, I am struck by the similarities of Dr. King’s disappointment over the white Church and that same silence that can be deafening today. And I am challenged to do better.

Yet, I in my own struggle echo these words of Dr. King from that letter:

I have been disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say that as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say it as a minister of the gospel who loves the church, who was nurtured in its bosom, who has been sustained by its Spiritual blessings, and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

I am a child of the church. I am a minister of the church. And I long for the church to truly be prophetic in our culture. It failed Dr. King so often. It has failed in matters of deep injustice in our world today. I am thankful for notable exceptions as well. But, dear God, help us do better.

Please, let freedom ring.


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