Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther King’

To serve: part of the celebration

January 18, 2016

martin luther king jr

In celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this tribute is offered:

. . . man behind the name

the name

the good brother
hammered out his
“Here I stand,
I can do none other. . .”
and forged “A mighty fortress”

the name

the same name
thunders through four centuries

anchored with a surname
a paradox,
oxymoronic nature of a servant/King

the name

weight of that name
burden of the same name
obligation to be true
to one’s namesake
as Ellison’s hidden name and complex fate
resounds from age to age the same–
the battle cry to defy the status quo

more than the name
is the memory of the man
behind the name

reflections on the man
behind the name
mirror commonalities
threads intertwine in black and gold
the life of this preacher,
teacher of the Word,
Walker’s prophet for a new day,
husband, father, mentor and more,
fellow-laborer in the Lord,
fellow bondslave and brother
heeding the higher calling

      first of all,
      servants of all,
      we shall transcend all

. . . the man behind the name

the man

praying, preaching,
leading through troubled waters
following in the steps of Christ,
along the higher path of love

the man

buked and scorned,
called everything,
including child of God,
tested, arrested, tried and sentenced
penning his letter from a Birmingham jail

the man

sitting down and standing up,
protesting and marching and singing

Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round!
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round!
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round!
Keep on marchin’; keep on movin’; keep on marchin’ toward the freedom land”

from Selma to Montgomery to Memphis
where he waved and smiled the last time

the man. . .the man. . .the man

uprooting burdock and stink weed,
bitter roots of prejudice
that blight the land
planting peace lilies instead

the man

images forever etched in my mind
eloquent, passionate dreamer
working to weave into reality
his multi-colored dream of possibility
the vista of that gathering
with echoes of his oration
before the People of Promise
arm-over-arm, hand-in-hand
swaying in rhythmic waves
across the multitude of faces
singing softly in unison
this choir of celestial voices
“. . . Black and white together. . .”
embracing refrains from the anthem of his age:

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome, someday.
Oh, deep in my heart I do believe
We shall overcome, someday.


MLK Day of Service:

An essential element of the Martin Luther King celebration is the MLK Day of Service, as Americans across the nation are encouraged to participate in community service with “A Day On, Not a Day Off!”

Throughout his life, Dr. King sought to forge the common ground on which people from all walks of life could join together to address important community issues. Working alongside individuals of all ages, races and backgrounds, Dr. King encouraged Americans to come together to strengthen communities, alleviate poverty, and acknowledge dignity and respect for all human beings. Service, he realized, was the great equalizer when he stated:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Dr. King recognized the importance of serving others with the following statement from the sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct”, delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church February 4, 1968:

“…He who is greatest among you shall be a servant. That’s the new definition of greatness…Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”

The accompanying video “To Serve” is an excerpt from that sermon:

Love your enemies

February 8, 2015


The Verse of the Day for February 8, 2015 is found in the section of Scripture known as “The Beatitudes”:

Matthew 5:43-45 (New Living Translation)

[Teaching about Love for Enemies] “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Below is a blog entry on the Beatitudes that is revised and re-posted here:

Part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” which some scholars maintain is really the “Sermon on the Plain,” the Beatitudes form a series of eight declarations that begin with the word “blessed.” Translated from the Greek word, makarios, “blessed” refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity, expressing deep joy and fulfillment of the soul. The word has been translated, happy, fortunate, favored. A contemporary response when asked about one’s state of being is the expression, “blessed and highly favored.”

The following scripture memory song speaks of the passage from Matthew 5 in this way:

The Beatitudes Are the “Be Attitudes”

The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”

They help us to see. They help us to be

All that God wants us to be.

We will be blessed and be a blessing in return

When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”


Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


Blessed are you. You shall be blessed.

You shall be blessed when you follow the “Be Attitudes.”


The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”

They help us to see. They help us to be

All that God wants us to be.

We will be blessed and be a blessing in return

When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”

Dr. Martin Luther King speaks of the transforming power of love and makes reference to the passage from the Beatitudes that states “love your enemies.”