Our “Gates of Praise” ended this past Sunday morning with our linking hands and singing that great Civil Rights song, “We Shall Overcome.” Now it is fine for us to remember and affectionately recall those countless thousands–most of whom will forever be unnamed–who fought and overcame segregation, lynching, Jim Crow and the murderous context of racism in America. We sang for them, in honor of them and certainly in honor of the Preacher King. But that is insufficient for realizing the Dream. It is our turn to work for the actualization of that dream in our generation.
Rev. King drank from the chalice of Christ’s love and covenant of hope. He carried the cross because as he himself stated it, the cross precedes our wearing of a crown. This holiday, this holy-day, let us covenant again with one another to love God and neighbor, to pray for our persecutors and non-violently but courageously resist evil.
As I said today in my sermon, you and I have a remarkable opportunity to actualize the Beloved Community by our participation in this brave church. You may wonder at times if there is progress; you might consider that your life has not amounted to enough; but beloved, there is nothing quite as important or exhilirating as being in this congregation of inclusion! Let us not grow weary of well-doing. This is YOUR church. This is OUR time. With King, let us drink from the chalice and carry the cross.