I (Tim Coburn, Lead Pastor of Society Church) wanted to share some thoughts with you today about Martin Luther King Junior in 2017…
Today we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr, born on January 15th, 1929. I believe that what we celebrate is a part of what shapes us and gives definition to how we live. This is why we celebrate Christmas, the Lord’s supper (communion), baptism, the resurrection (Easter & gathering on Sunday’s), and much, much more.
The story, life, values and beliefs of Martin Luther King Junior are both honorable and prophetic for our faith and society at large. I believe our faith is meant to tell a story of justice, love, and sacrifice that benefits others, especially the marginalized. This journey for racial justice is one that the church needs to continue to journey towards, especially now in our information age where actions of injustice can be seen, heard and shared in real time without any filter. Our progress has been shown for what it is in 2016, we have a long way to go and we intend to continue the journey and keep the dream alive.
Racial justice is still a long a way off, but a goal we need to be actively and intentionally moving towards. My pace may be slower than people want at times, but I have chosen slow and steady. It is a pace that involves listening, reflection, prayer and response to the cultural tensions we are facing. This means I refuse to just simply react to cultural moments. This upsets some people, some people have left our church and said hurtful things becaue of it. If you tend to be loud and reactionary can I encourage you to slow down, listen more and ask more questions when you are tempted to react. If you tend to become quite, passive and disengaged can I encourage you to speak up, share your thoughts, and engage with these challenging cultural tensions more. Furthermore, I want us to care. Care so deeply that we pray and make ourselves available to hear God speak into how we can respond better. Wherever you may fall we all have work to do, and an imporatant ingredient in the work is unity, doing it together. I desire to see my own life and our community of faith become more and more diverse in the coming years. I am commited to prayfully acting as God would have us.
My family and I take some time to listen to one or both of these speeches from MLK each year. They serve as a reminder to me of my duty to pass on this journey towards racial justice to my kids. I believe this story is one that is close to the heart of God, and to be one that is close to our hearts and lives as well.
As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr today I would like to ask you to take some time and watch and listen to one or both of these messages. May they shape our journey towards racial justice. May they continue to inspire, encourage and motivate us forward to live our life with love, sacrifice, and justice as key values that are marking the way forward.