MLK Invocation By Rev. Brian Combs, 1/20/2020

Let us pray… 

Of all the emotions, O’ God, none is lazier than cynicism. To recline in the armchair of pessimism, lounging free of expectation. To lean against an echo chamber of sarcasm, listening to the sounds of derision spin in aimless circles. To choose inaction is easy, it requires nothing. 

But thankfully none of us are here to indulge in a Monday off, nor are we here to gather around the memory of a man who spent his days idle. But President Johnson is arguing for a sensible policy of gradualism. No, Martin countered, the “colored only” water fountain signs won’t unhinge themselves tomorrow without provocation today. But Montgomery, Alabama is never going to revise the segregated bus system. No, Martin retorted, public transportation affords Rosa a seat upfront and we’ll boycott for 381 days until she can ride when and where she pleases. But the white owner at the Woolworth counter isn’t waiting on a customer unlike himself.  No, Martin defied, raise your voice by staging a sit-in until lunch is served.

Yes, Dr. King could have been a justified cynic, but he wasn’t. Instead, his insubordination was motivated by the fiercest emotion of all: HOPE. The enduring verb that subsists on a calorie a day in the barren wilderness without provision (Buechner); that hangs on to the altar of change by its fingernails refusing to let go (Craddock), that wears the hard hat to work assuming the job only gets done if heaven inbreaks from above. 

When they assassinated King, they thought that if you killed the leader you’d kill the movement. But they were wrong, and in the 50 years since, the opposite has happened.  Adherents have only increased their numbers, now to include you and me. As believers during these challenging times, remind us that hope can only thrive if exercised because muscles of indifference quickly atrophy (Brown Taylor).  

Disrupt our sedentary ways, activate our moral consciousnesses, rouse our protest, and mobilize our march believing that You aren’t done with our City, aren’t done with our Country, aren’t done with Civil Rights. In the name of the one who Martin followed, the Jesus who refused to stay still for anything but the cross, we pray.