United Church of Christ

“I Will Not Keep Silent”: Seven Days of MLK

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For a people and a place that have been deemed “Forsaken” and “Desolate,” the prophet Isaiah declares, “I will not keep silent.” From biblical times until today, prophets have refused to be silent in the face of violence and injustice.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was one such prophet, but, sadly, the full power of his voice is often muted and silenced today, despite the praise and adoration he receives on his birthday. All too frequently, celebrations of King’s life present us with a de-radicalized King. We hear snippets of his “I Have a Dream” speech, but we do not hear his more prophetic and penetrating critiques of racism, militarism, and capitalism.

To counter this tendency, Justice and Witness staff members will introduce a different speech, sermon, or writing from King over the course of seven days with the final day being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Worship Resources

Prayer: Creating the Beloved Community

O God, all people are your Beloved,
across races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations
and all the ways we are distinctive from one another.
We are all manifestations of your image.
We are bound together in an inescapable network of mutuality
and tied to a single garment of destiny.
You call us into your unending work
of justice, peace and love.
Let us know your presence among us now:

Let us delight in our diversity
that offers glimpses of the mosaic of your beauty.
Strengthen us with your steadfast love and
transform our despairing fatigue into hope-filled action.

Under the shadow of your wings in this hour
may we find rest and strength, renewal and hope.
We ask this, inspired by the example
of your disciple, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
and in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Source: Creating the Beloved Community by Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson of New York City)

Five Underappreciated Speeches and Sermons

  1. “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence,” Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967.
  2. “The Other America,” Local 1199 Drug and Hospital Union, New York City, March 10, 1998, text.
  3. “Where Do We Go from Here?,” Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, August 16, 1967, full text.
  4. “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution,” National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., March 31, 1968.
  5. “Address to the United Church of Christ General Synod 5,” Chicago, July 6, 1965.