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January 18, 2021


This is the latest installment of The Resistance Prays devotional series God With Us. 
On this MLK Day, we not only remember the life and legacy of Dr. King but reflect on how his words are heard in a tumultuous year as pointed out by the New York Times this morning.
"Shout loudly; don’t hold back;
    raise your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their crime,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
    desiring knowledge of my ways
    like a nation that acted righteously,
    that didn’t abandon their God.
They ask me for righteous judgments,
    wanting to be close to God.
“Why do we fast and you don’t see;
    why afflict ourselves and you don’t notice?”
Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want,
    and oppress all your workers.
You quarrel and brawl, and then you fast;
    you hit each other violently with your fists.
You shouldn’t fast as you are doing today
    if you want to make your voice heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I choose,
    a day of self-affliction,
    of bending one’s head like a reed
    and of lying down in mourning clothing and ashes?
    Is this what you call a fast,
        a day acceptable to the Lord?
Isn’t this the fast I choose:
    releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,
    setting free the mistreated,
    and breaking every yoke?
Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry
    and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
    covering the naked when you see them,
    and not hiding from your own family?
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
    and you will be healed quickly.
Your own righteousness will walk before you,
    and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.

- Isaiah 58:1-8
As the New York Times article points out, Dr. King’s last work, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” seems to be a headline that could have been taken from any newspaper or article written in the last 4 years, especially from 2020. Where do we go from here? Some think on January 20th, once the Biden-Harris administration is sworn in, the world will either automatically get better, or the second coming will take place. Others fall somewhere in between, knowing there are more reparations to be made than any one administration can handle. And still, as we witnessed on January 6th, there are some who are actively working so that Biden and Harris never see the inside of the Oval Office. So, where do we go from here when we live in a country so divided around white supremacy, equality, justice, and power dynamics?

Dr. King believed in a non-violent movement for justice and equity. But he also wasn’t about to sit to the side and let others do the work for him. The words of the prophet Isaiah remind us that our maker didn’t create us for silence; we were created as people of action and as such, we need to be speaking out by using our voices, our dollars, and our time. 

Where we go from here depends on us. It depends on being thoughtful about the words we use. It depends on being intentional when it comes to creating equity in our workplaces. It depends on how we create policies that lift up those who have been kept under the poverty level for so long but are essential for our country to function. It depends on how we battle racism and injustices within our own houses of worship. Where we go from here depends on our everyday actions, small and large, all with the end-goal of having a country where everyone gets a vote, where everyone’s voices are heard, and where white supremacy is no more.
Like so many others on this MLK Day, find a way to impact your community. Check out some of the virtual volunteer opportunities near you on Mobilize.us, or on AARP’s Create the Good. If you’re staying inside and in need of an informative film or podcast you can check these out:

John Lewis: Good Trouble
1619 Podcast
New York Times’ Movies to Stream for MLK Day
God of action, 
move us 
not just into acts of service 
but to daily acts and thoughts 
that lead us towards you. 

Acts that create equity for all
acts that create jobs that pay living wages
acts that break down the walls of white supremacy
acts that make it safer for brown and black bodies to thrive in the world 
without the fear of violence or death.

Remain with us 
as we work to answer the question
“where do we go from here?”

Amen.
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