March 27, 2017

Litany for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Litany of Remembrance, Reconciliation, and Recommitment

by: The Reverend Kimberly S. Jackson and L.T.P. Jackson

A pdf. version of this litany is available here.  All rights reserved. Please contact the authors for permission to use.

Remembrance

Leader: We have come together to remember that fateful day, when our brother Martin, through a violent act of conspiracy and hate, became our ancestor.

People: We remember his teachings. We honor his legacy.

Leader: Throughout his life, and on the eve of his death, Brother Martin challenged us to address the problems of the poor. He urged us to use our voices, bodies, and economic resources to ensure the well-being of our neighbors.

People: We remember his teachings. We honor his legacy.

Leader: As we remember Brother Martin, we acknowledge that he never stood alone. He stood and worked among a great company of freedom fighters, race women and men, prophets of the people, activists, organizers, educators, agitators, friends, and companions of every human community and creed.

People: We remember their witness. We honor their lives.

 

Reconciliation

Leader: Despite the great witness of those who came before us, we confess that at times we are distracted and fail to continue the good work begun by our ancestors and modeled by our elders.

People: Tempted by distractions we turned away. Walking in forgetfulness we went astray.

Leader: We fail to heed Brother Martin’s warning against the triple evils of racism, materialism, and militarism. Most often, our near-sightedness causes us to be more harmful than helpful.

People: Tempted by distractions we turned away. Walking in forgetfulness we went astray.

Leader: In our haste to accrue status we compromise our moral compasses. We value racism over righteousness; sexism over solidarity; classism over community; and American Exceptionalism over Brother Martin’s vision of the world house of peace.

People: Tempted by distractions we turned away. Walking in forgetfulness we went astray.

Leader: During our times of abundance, we over-indulge ourselves. During our times of hardship, we become hoarders of our private resources. We have closed our hands to one another, choosing greed instead of generosity.

People: Tempted by distractions we turned away. Walking in forgetfulness we went astray.

 

Recommitment

Leader: Late one night, Brother Martin heard the voice of God calling him to stand up for righteousness, and to stand up for justice. Guided by the Light, we too hear the Creator’s loving call.

People: We will stand up for righteousness. We will stand up for justice.

Leader: We commit to disrupting the school to prison pipelines that criminalize and enslave our youth. We decry the use of vigilante violence, the newest expression of lynching in our land, for its distortion of difference and devaluing of human life.

People: We will stand up for righteousness. We will stand up for justice. We will work for peace.

Leader: We commit to amplifying the call for economic justice and workers’ rights to work free of intimidation and manipulation. Whether we occupy the 1% or the 99%, we will employ our voices and our votes for the well-being of the 100%.

People: We will stand up for righteousness. We will stand up for justice. We will work for peace.

Leader: We commit to using non-violent methods to transform conflict in our communities and across the world. We reject fear-based policies and propaganda that compel us to take up arms against our neighbor instead of being reconciled to them as friends.

People: We will stand up for righteousness. We will stand up for justice. We will work for peace.

Leader: As we stand here surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses who came before us that we might know the way, we stand up for righteousness, we stand up for justice, and we stand up for peace, trusting that the Spirit will never, no never, leave us alone.

All: Ameen. Amen. Ashé. So be it.

 

 

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