Opening Invocation, Martin Luther King Day 2012

This opening invocation was given by Rev. Michael Livingston at the Faith Advocates for Jobs service to honor King’s commitment to Worker Justice.  (See information about the event here.)

The Old Testament text for the common lectionary yesterday was God’s call to the boy Samuel. It’s about hearing and responding to a call from God for service, it’s about speaking truth to entrenched power, old power, power plus money, arrogant power, it’s about wrong masquerading as right, it’s about God’s persistence, God’s relentless pursuit of us as if we are necessary to the triumph of right over wrong in our world, as if our ordinary voices matter, as if what happens next is up to us—whether the least among us will be served, whether or not truth will see the light of day in the midst of the sound bites that dominant public and congressional debate these days.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was like Samuel, young, going about his daily business, following his comfortable path when God called.  He was a preacher’s kid from a solid middle class family.  He went to Morehouse College then on to divinity studies and doctorate in philosophy.  He was on a Yellow Brick Road headed for Oz.  But God had need of him and he joined the ranks of the prophets and like Samuel, Amos, and Jeremiah; like Martin Luther and Sojourner Truth, Dietrich Bonheoffer; like Gandhi and Ella Baker.

Let us worship the God who calls prophets like Martin and every one of us to cry out against injustice and the abuse of power in the world.  Our God has no tolerance for those who prey on the weak, who turn their backs on the unemployed, who eat their fill while others are hungry.


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