January 15, 2024
New Year’s greetings to you as we move into 2024! May God grant us in this new year grace, courage, and purpose for the sake of Christ’s kindom and our own soul’s sake.
As you receive this it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – a national holiday in honor and celebration of this great American who did so much to rectify America’s sins of the past and turn us toward a better path of justice, liberation, and equality. He was also a great prophet of peace.
In 1967, as the Vietnam War ramped up, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke from the Riverside Church pulpit to the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. His words are particularly resonant today as the United States of America funds and supplies weapons to Israel in their retaliation for the brutal Hamas attack against them on October 4, 2023. We have all seen the pictures of the bombarded Gaza strip, of women, men, and children maimed and starving, of the heaps of rubble making so many homeless, of escalating violence in the region. Since October, nearly 24,000 civilians have been killed by Israel’s actions greatly aided by the United States. Is it time to tell our government, “No more killing in Gaza with our resources?”
The murderous attack by Hamas on innocent Israeli men, women, and children was horrific and unconscionable. It is rightly to be roundly condemned. Even so, South Africa recently sued Israel in the International Court of Justice for what it calls a disproportionate and even genocidal response. Ironically, the International Court of Justice was set up in The Hague in 1948 to ensure that something like the Holocaust would never happen again.
The title of King’s remarks on that day in 1967 was, “A Time to Break the Silence.” I invite you to ponder with me King’s words. King, a Christian pastor, was a prophet of the Kindom of Heaven where none would hurt or destroy in all God’s holy mountain. (Isaiah) His message was consistent no matter the issue he addressed, echoing the prophet Amos’ call, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Here’s what he said:
As ever in prayer,