January 14, 2007 | Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

Prayers of the People

Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor

God of prophets and apostles, disciples and martyrs, through whom you comfort the troubled and trouble the comfortable, let us feel the troubling presence of your prophets in our midst today. We are ever aware that in corners throughout this nation and world oppression is thriving and tyranny is on the throne; injustice is in the factories and hunger is on the march; the rich are getting richer and the homeless are being forgotten. And so we thank you for the voices of prophets crying in the night, and particularly this day, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a prophet of hope, an apostle of nonviolence, an agent of change, a pastor of peace. and a faithful servant of yours.

Dr. King’s goal of peace and justice brought dramatic and life-changing transformation and yet it continues with elusiveness to us as it did to him, Still we are bold to imagine that the victims of injustice might look to us for support not in vain but in discovery, that the victims of tragedy might look to us for mercy, not disappointed by what they find but greeted by comfort and hope.

And so we continue, O God, to march on in the spirit of Dr. King’s spirit, to dream with childlike audacity, and to pray with certain conviction. We’re praying for a vision, not a fantasy or an illusion or an illustration, but a vision: a promised place where there are no ugly ghettos or exclusive suburbs, a promised place where the hurts of your people are bound up without regard to status or origin, a promised place where children do not throw stones, a promised place where there is no need of soldiers or weapons, a promised place where sons and fathers are not taken in the night, a promised place where daughters and mothers walk in safety, a promised place where women and men stand side by side, a promised place where nature’s destruction is overcome by humanity’s giving, a promised place where people do not build walls to separate, a promised place where disease does not destroy, a promised place where all are seated at the banquet, a promised place where the rich learn dignity from the poor, a promised place where truth is spoken and lived, a promised place where mourning is no more.

We are convinced that the dream will not be brought any nearer by the weak-willed or fainthearted. So change us, we pray, that the world might change! Call us again to the mountaintop, with a voice so compelling that it cannot be ignored. Gather us all, your children and your somebodies. Give us the conviction to believe the dream, the hope to envision it, the commitment to work for it, and the energy to live it. We make this prayer as sons and daughters of your promise and brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, praying as he taught, saying,

Our Father . . .