Monday, January 19, 2015


Some of us are old enough to remember
       the balcony in Memphis,
       the sanitation workers' strike,
       the shot that broke flesh,
       and the loss of Martin,
              and then the mule-drawn wagon,
                      and the funeral,
              and the riots, the violence, the fear,
                      and the failure.

All of us know the crowd in D.C.
     and "I Have a Dream,"
     the Birmingham jail,
     the broad stream of violence,
     and his steadfast nonviolence
                     in Albany and
                     in Skokie and
                     in Selma.

All of us know his awesome, daring speech,
        his bravery, his hope, and his generative word.
And we know the relentlessness of our government
        in pursuit of him.
       and the endless surveillance and harassment
                     of this drum major for justice.

At this distance, we have little access
    to how it was then concerning ambiguity
            and fear
            and reluctance
            and violence
            and injustice.

We do not doubt that you have persisted
                 even beyond Martin's passion,
                 even beyond Martin's brilliance,
                 even beyond Martin's fidelity, and
                              his loss.

We do not doubt that through him and beyond him,
           you, holy God of the prophets,
                     are still pledged to justice and
                                                    peace and
                                                    liberty for all.

We remember Martin in gratitude....
                   and chagrin.
And we pledge, amid our stressed ambiguities,
                 to dream as he did,
                 to walk the walk,
                 and to talk the talk of your coming kingdom.

We pledge, so sure that your truth
     will not stop its march
          until your will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

Walter Brueggemann, Prays for a Privileged People

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