Racial Justice Sunday
On August 28, 1963, some 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves, a young man named Martin Luther King described his vision. What follows are excerpts from his speech which are still relevant for our cities, towns and countries today.
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream……
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississipi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice…will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream that one day….little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers……
I have a dream today!……
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. (Isaiah 40.4-5)
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope…. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together…… knowing that we will be free one day…….
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Every present God,
you called us to be in relationship with one another and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered.
In our community, we are many different people;
we come from many different places,
have many different cultures.
Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion and the treasures of diversity among us.
We pray in faith. Amen.
Revd Dr Martin Luther King Jr