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National Themes

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday (US) (Observed on the Third Monday in January)

  • Worship Outline

    by Anonymous Author
  • Cleft for Me

    by Phil Bloom
    We can illustrate Jesus' mission in a man we are following this month: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I found inspiration listening to his speeches and sermons - and a book about his final year: Death of a King. It shows him working to liberate not only his fellow blacks, but whites and others in our American mosaic. Martin Luther King identified with other people's suffering because he endured grave afflictions. In the last year of his life he suffered depression that led to hospitalization. We can understand his depression in light of the stress he was under: savage attacks from the press, family troubles, financial woes, a splintering movement with internal divisions and betrayals - and his own demons that led him to seek relief in alcohol and infidelity. Those failures and sins brought guilt that drug him deeper into depression. His staff members - many of them fellow ministers - worried about him. They finally got him to take a few days away. At the place they were staying one of them - at 3 in the morning - realized Dr. King was not in his bedroom. The fellow minister searched frantically and and found him on a balcony. Remembering that Dr. King had attempted suicide as youth, the friend was thinking he might now plunge to his death. Moving closer, Dr. King asked, "Do you see that rock?" Then he sang in full voice, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me; let me hide myself in thee." Jesus was cleft for us like Moses cleft - opened - the rock in the desert. Dr. King's power came from the fact he took his troubles, weaknesses and sins to Jesus...
  • Best Friends

    by Richard Bryant
  • Living a Dream

    by Dan Clendenin
  • Together in Every Place

    by Jim Eaton
    When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was speaking for the last time in Memphis, Tennessee, he began by saying, …we’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery.
  • Memorial and Remembrance Day Resources

    Compiled by Richard Fairchild
  • God, With Joy We Look Around Us

    Hymn Text by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
  • Called to Make a Difference

    by Peter Gilmer
    From 1955 to 1957 my father, William Gilmer and my uncle Harvey Clarke completed their theological training at Oberlin College in Ohio. It had been the first desegregated University in the United States. There they heard Martin Luther King speak about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In his speech, King said: But one day after finishing school, I was called to a little church, down in Montgomery, Alabama. And I started preaching there. Things were going well in that church, it was a marvelous experience. But one day a year later, a lady by the name of Rosa Parks decided she wasn’t going to take it any longer. It was the beginning of a movement. The people of Montgomery asked me to serve them as a spokesman and as the president of the new organization that came into being to lead the movement. I couldn’t say no. And then we started our struggle together. Things were going well for the first few days but then, about ten of fifteen days later, after the white people in Montgomery knew that we meant business, they started doing some nasty things. They started making nasty phone calls, and it came to the point that some days more than forty telephone calls would come in, threatening my life, the life of my family, the life of my child...
  • Worship Resources

    from the Home Mission Societies of the American Baptist Churches
  • I Have a Dream: Celebrating and Remembering

    by Rex Hunt
    And the American poet Carl Wendell Himes, Jr. who was only in his 20s when King was assassinated, articulated this domestication of King eloquently: "Now that he is safely dead Let us praise him build monuments to his glory sing hosannas to his name. "Dead men make such convenient heroes: They cannot rise to challenge the images we would fashion from their lives. "And besides, it is easier to build monuments than to make a better world."...
  • Water into Wine

    by Christoph Keller III
    Parables are reflections of larger truths that might otherwise go unnoticed. Karl Barth, the theologian, sometimes spoke of "secular parables of the Gospel." Some things happen in this world that are gospel-like in their essential meaning. Allen Guelzo's book title, Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, is a case in point. President Lincoln was shot on Good Friday. After his death, far away in Russia Leo Tolstoy told the crowd that Lincoln's life was "Christ in miniature." King and Lincoln use biblical material to illustrate the American experiment: sacred stories told for secular epiphanies. When Lincoln says, "a house divided against itself cannot stand," he is quoting Jesus to make a point about the United States, and with his prodigal son analogy King is doing the same thing. This is more than rhetoric, because Lincoln and King both believe the secular world has sacred meaning...
  • Resources for MLK

    from MLK Online
  • MLK and Tucson

    by Debra Dean Murphy
  • Litany

    by Ted Newcomb
    (based on I Have a Dream)
  • Setting Right Our Human Way of Setting Things Right

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    Sermon and Children's Sermon
  • Martin Luther King Jr. in Cuba

    by Francisco Rodés
    A Cuban pastor's story of King's influence.
  • Martin's Greatest Gift

    by David Sellery
  • Resources by and about MLK, Jr.

    from Stanford University
  • Remembering Martin

    by Robert Stuhlmann
  • MLK Was a Radical

    by Cornel West
  • Homily Notes

    by Traci West
  • Preaching About Racism

    by Brett Younger

Loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia (US)(February 5, 2003)

Anzac Day (Australia and New Zealand) (April 25)

Independence Day (US)(July 4)

Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945)

  • Hiroshima

    Poem for Worship by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
  • What Do the Transfiguration and Hiroshima Day Share?

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Desmond Tutu tells the story of a so-called colored woman who was driven from her home and ostracized by her family because she had HIV/AIDS. She came to live in a home for people who suffered from the disease, and there were white men there who would help her because she couldn’t do anything herself. She was all skin and bones. They would carry her like a baby and wash her, bathe her, feed her. Then they would put her in front of a television set and hold her. And this was during the apartheid years. I visited this home and said, “What an incredible lesson in loving and compassion and caring.” It was transfiguring something ugly, letting something beautiful come from a death-making disease. When God sees that, a smile breaks forth on God’s face and God smiles through the tears. It’s like when the sun shines through the rain. The world may never know about these little transfigurations, but these little acts of love are potent.
  • Transfiguration and Disfiguration

    by T. James Kodera
    ("On the 6th of August 1945, the morning broke with a cloudless blue sky in Hiroshima that had been left unscarred by the war, in spite of the naval base in the bay. The citizens thought, naively, that their fair city had been spared because of its religious significance in Buddhism...")
  • Sacrifice

    by Jim McCoy
    ("This week is the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. . At the time of the Nagasaki bombing, Dr. Takashi Nagai was the dean of the University of Nagasaki medical school. Dr. Nagai survived the bombing and one year later published The Bells of Nagasaki, an extraordinary account of both the grotesque destruction caused by the bomb and the amazing response of doctors, nurses and others as they selflessly attended to other victims...")
  • Ghost Cloud

    Poem for Worshp by Ken Rookes

Resources for Times of War

Currently Unavailable