Last night I had the privilege of offering the Invocation at Antioch Baptist Church’s 39th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet. The theme was Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future. Here is my Invocation:
We are a people used to praying. Aren’t we?
Praying in church.
Praying before a meal.
Praying when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed each night.
Our praying needs to be more.
Maybe it has always needed to be more and has been more.
But today it feels different.
These are unsettled days and unsettling times.
So, as we remember the work and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and honor the past, let us pray like this so we can continue to bend that long arc of history in the direction of God’s Kingdom come and shape a future which we will be proud to hand to our children and grandchildren.
Let us pray not just with our words, but also with our hands.
Let us pray not just with what we say, but also with what we do.
Let us pray not just with what we intend, but with the witness of our lives.
Let us pray not just with what we dream, but also with our feet on the pavement.
Let us pray, not to implore God who already holds out before us that grand dream of God’s Kingdom come, but let us pray to remind ourselves and to remind each other of who we are and whose we are and, especially, who we are called to be. Let us pray not saying “Lord hear our prayer”, but pray so we might become agents of God’s prayer echoing and embodying the witness of the angels who so recently proclaimed “Peace on Earth. God’s good will to all.”
We are already blessed so I don’t need to ask for that again
For either this gathering or for our food.
Thank you, God, for this gathering.
For the witness and work of these people.
For the strength and hope and courage in this room.
May we be strength and hope and courage for others.