JONESVILLE — A litany commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was recited by those attending the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration” at Sims Middle School Monday evening.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday celebrated the third Monday of each January. It honors the life, work, message, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the preeminent Civil Rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s.
In Union County, the Union County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People holds a “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration” in commemoration of Dr. King. This year, the celebration was held Monday evening at Sims Middle School and featured the recitation of “The Litany of Commemoration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The recitation was lead by Mikel Stephens, a Union County High School freshman, with the audience standing to speak in response to his words.
Leader: In the grand order of the universe, our Lord God wisely has chosen men and women to serve Him in each era. Such a servant of our Lord God was Martin Luther King Jr., whose birth we now commemorate. We are thankful for the life of this 20th century prophet of freedom, who joined the prophets on history in the cry:
Congregation: In the name of freedom, let my people go.
Leader: Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned the ultimate freedom: the freedom achieved in struggle; the freedom reached in brotherhood; the freedom fired by the dream of a man; the freedom inspired by the lot of a people; the freedom free of hate; the freedom full of love.
Congregation: In the name of freedom of love, let my people go.
Leader: He reminded us that the spirit of man soars from depths of despair with the strength and belief in the promise of the Creator of the universe. We know and we testify: The Lord loves justice; He will not forsake his saints.
Congregation: In the name of the Lord, let my people go.
Leader: And so he set off on a journey for justice. It was a journey proclaiming the words of the ancient prophet, Amos: “Let justice roll down like waters; and righteousness like a mighty stream.” It was a journey calling forth the modern Christian ministry to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.
Congregation: In the name of the prophet Amos, and in the name of suffering people, let my people go.
Leader: The journey went to Montgomery, to affirm human dignity and courage; to Birmingham, to defeat the sickness of separating human life; to Selma, to ensure the equality of people in human affairs; to a hundred nameless communities, to remove painful shackles of oppression and light joyous torches of liberty.
Congregation: In the name of this journey toward freedom, let my people go.
Leader: And even when death was confronted, as the journey reached Memphis, he could say in final triumph, that in life he had found something worthy dying for; something worth life itself, the Promised Land, a land of freedom with justice.
Congregation: In the name of the Promised Land, let my people go.
Leader: We praise the Lord God for sending us a man of peace who resisted tyranny, a man of God who worked for people. Thank you, Lord, for Martin Luther King Jr., who inspired us with his dream, who walked into our lives and our hearts with marches for justice, who demanded freedom with great courage in the face of grave danger, and who has now passed on into your Promised Land. Thank you for this noble legacy to continue the journey to that land here on earth, in life for all people. Thank you, God; You have sent us one who now causes us to say:
All: In the name of Martin Luther King Jr., let my people go.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.