Posted by: Keith Clark | January 16, 2012

A Prayer for MLK Day

Here is a prayer for MLK day from Walter Brueggemann’s  Prayers for a Privileged People.

Some of us are old enough to remember

the balcony in Memphis,

the sanitation workers’ strike,

the shot that broke flesh,

the loss of Martin,

and then the mule-drawn wagon,

and the funeral,

and the riots, the violence, the fear,

and the failure.

All of us know the crowd in D.C.

and “I Have a Dream,”

the Birmingham jail,

the broad stream of violence,

and his steadfast nonviolence

in Albany and

in Skokie and

in Selma.

All of us know his awesome, daring speech,

his bravery, his hope, and his generative word.

And we know the relentlessness of our government

in pursuit of him

and the endless surveillance and harassment

of this drum major for justice.

At this distance, we have little access

to how it was then concerning ambiguity

and fear

and reluctance

and violence

and injustice.

We do not doubt that you have persisted

even beyond Martin’s passion,

even beyond Martin’s brilliance,

even beyond Martin’s fidelity, and

his loss.

We do not doubt that through him and beyond him,

you, holy God of the prophets,

are still pledged to justice and

peace and

liberty for all.

We remember Martin in gratitude . . .

and chagrin.

And we pledge, amid our stressed ambiguities,

to dream as he did,

to walk the walk,

and to talk the talk of your coming kingdom.

We pledge, so sure that your truth

will not stop its march

until your will is done on earth as it is in heaven.


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