Most gracious and compassionate God, on this day we remember your beloved servant, Martin Luther King Jr. At the heart of Dr. King’s life was his hope that our world would become the Beloved Community, which for him was nothing more than your reign on this earth where all people share equally in its welfare.
As early as 1956, your beloved servant Martin spoke of the Beloved Community as the end goal of nonviolent boycotts. Following the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decision desegregating the seats on Montgomery, Alabama’s buses, King said, “The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends… It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of others.”
In his 1963 sermon, Loving Your Enemies, your beloved servant Martin addressed the role of unconditional love in struggling for the Beloved Community. “With every ounce of our energy we must continue to rid this nation of the incubus of segregation. But we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love. While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the Beloved Community.”
O holy God, your son Jesus taught us that belovedness is not something we can earn or buy or deserve. Nor can we hoard or save or store it up. Because there is an unlimited supply of belovedness, you call us not only to claim it for ourselves but to give it away as often as we can because we will always have as much as we need. As we pause today to remember the belovedness of your servant, Martin, remind us once more that we, too, are beloved. Open our eyes once again to see all people in this frightening and beautiful world as your Beloved Community as well. And give us the courage to continue Martin’s legacy by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. Amen.
Bishop Laurie Haller