A prayer for MLK day

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Martin Luther King Jr.

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 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. 

From Prayers for a Privileged People ~ Walter Brueggemann
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