Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an ordained Baptist minister and Civil Rights activist. He was born in Atlanta, GA on Jan 15th, 1929. He was assassinated in Memphis, TN, on April 4th, 1968. The matter he was engaged in the day before his assassination was in organizing for better working conditions for sanitation workers (garbagemen) for the City of Memphis. His final days were spent fulfilling the words of Jesus. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25.40, 45). What follows is a brief devotion, with prayers, scripture readings, and a sermon preached by Rev. Dr. King. The entire devotion should take between 15 and 20 minutes. We recommend you read the prayers and scripture slowly and thoughtfully.
Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask that you bless our time of scripture reading and meditation on the life and words of your child, servant, and martyr, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that we might grow closer to you in holiness and more united in your will for justice on this earth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
First Scripture Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Ch.3, vs. 20-21: Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Second Scripture Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome, Ch.12 vs. 2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Third Scripture Reading from the Gospel of Matthew, Ch.25, vs. 31-40: Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
A Time for Reflection: Take a moment to consider one thought from Rev. Dr. King’s sermon
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who taught a generation of Christians that only you are able to lift us from the fatigue of despair to the buoyance of hope. Only you are able to transform a midnight of injustice into the glowing daybreak of freedom. We pray that we might follow his example in the durable way of love, which he learned by the example of your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the love of God breaking forth into time, in the Mighty Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.