If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning. --Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
Life-giving God, we give you thanks and praise for your abundant grace. With a mighty hand you parted the waters and provided a band of Israelite slaves with the gift of exodus—a way out. In the same way, O God, grant safe passage to all who need it today—passage through the turmoil of illness, grief, and despair; passage through poverty and oppression; passage, perhaps, through toils and snares of our own devising. Where chaos swirls around us like mighty waters, lead us by your Spirit. Let us find solid ground in our walk with Jesus Christ, our guide and friend. On this weekend of remembrance we give thanks for the life of Martin Luther King Jr., his prophetic witness, his courage, and his faithfulness to the gospel. May we be so prophetic, so courageous, and so faithful.
Powerful God, in the desert you smashed apart dry stones and made waters to spill out, enough for everyone. Forgive the times we do not trust you, when we demand miracles on our own timetable. You provided water in the desert, and manna sufficient for all; forgive us when we hoard and store up your abundant gifts for our own use. Give us the courage and faith to speak out for those in need of liberation and justice. Give us the words also to witness to your life-changing gospel in a thirsty world.
We thank you, resurrected God, that you rolled away the stone of the tomb, and a new creation poured forth. Justice and mercy roll down now and forever; peace and hope reign always. Help us to claim this new reality, in our lives and for this world. We pray in the name of Jesus, the risen Christ. Amen.