a personal reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18, 2016
The angel of the Lord appeared to (Moses) in a flame of fire from a bush…that was blazing, yet not consumed…God called, “Moses, Moses!” He said, “Here I am.” (God) said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham…Isaac, and…Jacob…I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings and I have come down to deliver them…So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
Martin stood in the line and light of Moses, taking up the mantle of the ministry of leading people (some would say Black – but, I believe, all – Americans) out of the bondage of discriminatory systems and structures. Today, Martin, assassinated on April 4, 1968, has been gone nearly 50 years. Moses, longer still. Yet their labors, the labor of lifting up the oppressed remains, in this day and time, sadly and surely necessary.
As I reflect on the lives and legacies of Moses and Martin, believing their labors to be fitting for all good-willed folk, I must speak for myself within the character of my chosen identity as a Christian and, thus, within the context of my community, the church.
The church is no sentimental memorial society that gathers to commemorate a dear, dead leader. The church, Jesus’ people, comes together, is together in response to his command, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
The church gathers to remember his sacrifice; his body broken, his blood shed on the cross of his crucifixion…
To remember that God sent him to be the last sacrifice, the last victim…
To remember that the breaking of the bread and sharing the cup is “not for solace only, but for strength”…
To remember that in the strength derived from partaking of spiritual food, Jesus’ people are to go down to Egypt – a metaphor for anywhere and everywhere in a world that, failing to understand the meaning of the cross, continues to seek and make sacrificial victims – and to labor so that no one of any class or color, tribe or clan, gender or sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin will be victimized, crucified on the twin Calvary crosses of phobia and prejudice.
This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and every day, I hear the vox Deus, the voice of God, saying, singing, “Go down, Paul, go down (your name here). ‘Way down in Egypt land. Tell ole Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”
Photograph: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Washington, DC, January 14, 2012
Exodus 3.2, 4, 6a, 7-8a, 10, abridged and paraphrased
 Eucharistic Prayer C, The Book of Common Prayer, page 372