What do we experience within our church that makes it different from everywhere else? What do we do differently as members of the church that shows we are followers of Christ? If the church is the Body of Christ, then what would people know about Christ if all they had to go on was observing our congregation?
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did many earth-shaking things in his short life. One of them was to challenge the church to live up to its calling. We honor his life by asking questions like those above and by considering how he and the Christians he led answered them in word and deed.
This Sunday we will hear some of King’s stirring words (“We as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists”), and also the words of the prophet Isaiah (“I will give you as a light to the nations”) and Jesus in the book of Luke (“The Spirit of God is upon me”). We will sing two familiar spirituals that King and the Civil Rights Movement sang, This Little Light of Mine, and When Israel Was in Egypt’s Land (Go Down Moses). We will also sing God Send Us Men Whose Aim ’Twill Be, which has a tune that matches its powerful text: “God send us men whose aim ’twill be, Not to defend some ancient creed, But to live out the laws of Christ In every thought and word and deed.”
The choir will sing another African American spiritual that was popular in the Civil Rights Movement, “I Woke Up This Morning,” as well as, “O Brother Man.” Organist John Atwood will play arrangements of “Simple Gifts” and “Were You There.” The postlude will be one worth sitting to listen to, “Come, God the Creator, Holy Ghost” BWV 631, by J. S. Bach. It is a gem, barely a minute long. Here is a preview: