Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day

Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. G. Copeland offers the following prayer in memory of him and of the legacy he left to the world.

Father, in the name of Jesus, we repent and ask forgiveness for tolerating prejudice in the household of faith. Forgive us for segregating ourselves by color, by a measure of wealth or intellect. We pray and look forward to the day when every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain made low, the rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight. We believe that one day the glory of the Lord shall be revealed to all flesh. We call for an end to division and segregation in Christ’s family. The Kingdom of faith is now our home country, and we are no longer strangers or outsiders. We are one in the bond of love – the love of God, our Father. We pray in the name of Jesus that this nation will acknowledge in deed that all men are created equal. Amen.

My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven't you segregated God's children and proved that you are judges who can't be trusted?

James 2:1-4 [The Message]

Every valley and ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be leveled; and the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough roads shall be made smooth

Luke 3:5 [AMP]

And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.

Isaiah 40:5 [AMP]

11-13 But don't take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God's ways had no idea of any of this, didn't know the first thing about the way God works, hadn't the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God's covenants and promises in Israel, hadn't a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we're now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

19-22 That's plain enough, isn't it? You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He's using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

Ephesians 2:13-22 [The Message]

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