This Sunday’s readings offer assurance that God is in relationship with us and calling us even when we do not recognize God. Samuel is called by God as a boy — three times, in the dark of night — and must be guided by Eli to respond. And when he does, he is given the difficult task of conveying hard news to the old priest. In the Gospel of John, Nathanael and Philip are called by Jesus but Nathanael is dubious at first and must be encouraged by Philip to keep his eyes and mind open. “Come and see.” And when he does, he meets Jesus, who knows his heart and tells him he will see the glories of heaven with his own eyes. And the psalmist expresses how intimately God knows us and yearns for us: no matter where we go, “even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand hold me fast.”
This week we stand at the intersection of many events: we honor the work and witness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we continue to endure the shock and aftermath of the recent insurrection at our nation’s Capitol. We mourn the mounting loss of lives and livelihoods to COVID-19 as we wait and pray for the beginning of a new administration. At this intersection, we listen for God’s voice: a comfort in the face of such pain and suffering, and a challenge to do the difficult work required of justice. Dr. King wrote from his cell in the Birmingham jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
The words and work of the Hebrew prophets can inspire and guide us in this work. This Sunday at 10am, join Summerlee Staten to look at the work of Dr. King and the prophet Amos and consider a vision of a just society where all can thrive.
Although challenging work, the assurance that we are always sustained and intimately known by God offers the strength to pursue this call. As Dr. King encourages us: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Director, Faith Formation & Education
Community Programs & Public Life
- Can mindfulness and social justice work be a form of spiritual practice? Rhonda Magee shares her wisdom in a blog post and an interview.
- “We awaken in Christ’s body,” a poem by Symeon the New Theologian, speaks to how intimately we are connected to Christ.
- Family Worship: Home Edition
Sundays at 10am | Online
Join us for Children’s Time, now meeting on Zoom. We’ll start with a brief opening assembly together and then, each week, children can choose from two different breakout groups.
Godly Play (Preschool and older)
Story: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Materials: Drawing supplies
Whole People of God (2nd Grade and older)
Lesson: Samuel, Nathaniel, Martin, and me: I am here. Come and see. It’s time!
Materials: Construction paper or cardstock, markers, and tape for making “megaphones”
Sundays at 10am | Online
Join us for Discovery’s series on the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, as we consider how we might look to reshape our society in light of recent turmoil and how the Hebrew prophets offer a vision of a just society where all can thrive. This Sunday, Summerlee Staten will lead a discussion on the prophet Amos and the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Youth ages 13–19 (and younger children accompanied by a parent) are invited to join young advocates for an afternoon of history and action on MLK Day. From performances to education and conversations, we will explore the movement for truth in our shared history and education and the necessity of telling our full story.
- It is said the Rev. Dr. King traveled everywhere with a Bible and the works of Howard Thurman, the great Christian mystic and spiritual advisor to the civil rights movement. Thurman’s writings on justice, spirituality and our call as Christians resonate with the lectionary readings and this moment in history. Learn more about Howard Thurman.
- Listen to an audio recording of Dr. King reading his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
- The Children’s March in Birmingham in May of 1963 was a turning point for the Civil Rights movement and resulted in the removal of a powerful and corrupt man from power, and the Civil Rights Act a year later.
- In an early and seldom seen interview with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following the Montgomery bus boycotts, he discusses Christianity and civil disobedience: “I think it is just as bad to passively accept evil, as it is to inflict it.”
- The Six Principles of Nonviolence from the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change