Tuesday January 21, 2020
The past weekend was MLK weekend. Many of us honored Dr Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend in various ways.
It just so happened that I was presiding and preaching at Christ Church in Seattle where I have the honor to serve as Associate Priest. Although my sermon did not center on Dr King, he did appear in the homily for the day. I was talking about trust and leadership. While speaking about that topic I was compelled to say that leaders must be held accountable and that sometimes doing that can be risky. I noted that it cost John the Baptizer his life. And that it also cost Dr King his life.
Dr. King is on my mind frequently and his words are on my lips often. He was not only a great leader but he was also a personal inspiration for me. He showed me that a preacher can have an amazing impact using the power of words. Dr. King is one of the people who inspired me to pursue ordained ministry.
I noticed that a couple of people were in church Sunday that I hadn’t seen in a while. Turns out they had come specifically for MLK, hoping to hear me. That’s probably because last year when I also got to preach on the Sunday of MLK weekend.
That Sunday I preached a sermon that, even by my standards, was excellent. I started out quoting Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. I then went on to talk about dreaming and visioning as Christ Church was in the starting phases of a visioning process. I ended that sermon with famous words from that same Dr King speech. I could feel that something special was happening in the congregation that day. I had captured lightning in a bottle and then opened the bottle. i don’t know it that was the best sermon I ever preached but it was certainly in the top five.
I have had the chance to speak at several Dr King events in my career. Those have been special moments for me. However it is on those Sunday mornings when I in a congregation and in the role of preacher that I best embody the spirit of Dr. King, the tradition of the Civil Rights Movement and the spirituality which I have inherited and share with both.