Reading 1: From “Op-Ed on Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
The rhetoric of Donald Trump demonstrates a deep moral fracture and flaw in our nation. The language of privilege and undergirding tone of dismissal floats in the air of civic conversation. In times such as this, we need not celebration and commemoration of men and women who lived valiantly, but we need to be disturbed and re-¬‐energized; not by the “safe” King, created by certain persons to tone down his radical legacy, but we need the radical King, the radical Hamer, and the radical Rustin. We do not need simple slogans, but we must arm ourselves moral courage, outrage, and a vision for a nation where the debilitating effects of poverty, racial hierarchy, and gender marginalization are actively banished from public policy and political discourse.
I am not interested in singing songs or stating what “we used to do.”
I am interested in fighting and drawing strength and lessons from the ancestors of our struggle and planning a better future for my children.
As we celebrate King this month, I hope you will do more than remember, but join the fight to resist policies that dehumanize those who are incarcerated, and incarcerate families of the incarcerated. Resist words dipped in fear, designed to demonize “dreamers;” brilliant children raised in this country brought to America by parents looking for a better life.
Resist economic policies designed to cripple the poor and further enrich the wealthy.
Resist alleged “bar stool talk,” that is nothing more than vile speech, anointed by the racist demons of this world.
We need the legacy of King, the power of Hamer, the brilliance of Rustin, and most of all… we need you.
[Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, and Bayard Rustin]
[“Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)
Fannie Lou Hamer, a former sharecropper-‐turned-‐activist, and non-‐traditional teacher, came from the same theological tradition as Martin Luther King, Jr., but was raised in the web of poverty and sexism; plus the frigid actions of racism in Mississippi. Hamer became the guiding light for merging faith, gender, and class as an intersection.
Bayard Rustin (1912-1987)
Bayard Rustin, who was Quaker, gay, and a believer in the power of people organizing for change, became the organizing mentor and teacher for Dr. King and Fannie Lou Hamer throughout the movement.”
Reading 2: From “Jesus and Black Lace Lingerie” by Elle Dowd
The church often uses abstract-sounding words like, “the incarnation,” to talk about how we worship a God with a body. Perhaps it’s because the corporal reality of it all is still such a scandal. God made a grand entry on earth not clothed in robes and jewels or even a sweet, white, baptismal-looking robe, but naked, screaming, and covered in blood and vernix.
And as God grew, God walked around with real feet on real dusty roads and hung around, eating and drinking with other people who also lived in bodies. Many of God’s favorite people to spend time with had bodies that were deemed “unclean” by polite society, either because of monthly blood or because of disability or because of occupation. Some of God’s best friends were sex workers. All of them lived as minorities under the reign of terror of the Roman Empire.
And when that same Empire killed God, they stripped him naked before they pounded real nails into real flesh and God bled real blood. God’s lifeless body was cradled in the arms of God’s mother who bathed God in real tears of a mother’s grief. And perhaps even more scandalous than coming to us the first time in a body, when God came back, it was not merely spiritual or symbolic. God came back with a body, ascended to Heaven in a body, forever destroying the lie that bodies are inherently bad or dirty or wrong.
I will forever sing praises about the story of a God with a body because that story is really good news for those of us with bodies.
It is especially good news for those of us who, instead of being empowered to celebrate our bodies, have been oppressed BECAUSE of our bodies or told that our holy, beautiful bodies are dirty, sinful, or wrong.
Reading 3: The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 22, verses 24-34
[After the first communion,] Another dispute arose among them about who would be regarded as the greatest. But Jesus said to them, “Earthly rulers domineer over their people. Those who exercise authority over them are called their ‘benefactors.’ This must not happen with you. Let the greatest among you be like the youngest. Let the leader among you become the follower. For who is greater? The one who reclines at a meal, or the one who serves it? Isn’t it the one reclining at table? Yet here I am among you as the one who serves you.
“You are the ones who have stood by me faithfully in trials. Just as God has given me dominion, so I give it to you. In my reign, you will eat and drink at my table, and you’ll sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded that you be sifted like heat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. You in turn, must give strength to your sisters and brothers.”
“Rabbi,” Peter answered, “with you I’m prepared to face imprisonment, even death!”
Jesus responded, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you’ll have denied three times that you know me.”