644) Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been eighty-six years old today.  He died April 4, 1968 at the age of thirty-nine, assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray.  Five months earlier, in a sermon to his congregation on November 5, 1967, King said this:

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be.  And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause.  And you refuse to do it because you are afraid….  You refuse to do it because you want to live longer….  You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.  Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90.  And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

Hear him say this at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV0Zmxa4hvw




We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose ultimate hope.

We may all have come in different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive our hate: only love can do that.

I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.

We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.


John 15:12-13  —  (Jesus said), “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Amos 5:24  —  Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Isaiah 2:4  —  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

Micah 6:8  —  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Galatians 3:28  —  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 30:5b  —  Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.


Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us.  We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ.  We often give in order to receive.  We love our friends and hate our enemies.  We go the first mile but dare not travel the second.  We forgive but dare not forget.  And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you.  But thou, O God, have mercy upon us.  Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be.  Give us the intelligence to know your will.  Give us the courage to do your will.  Give us the devotion to love your will.  In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

–Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.