Upcoming Service Notes, January 20, 2019, Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday

The Gospel Singing Workshop has been postponed, but…

we urge adventurous Vermonters to brave the snow storm—a fitting symbol for how the Civil Rights Movement braved the storm of segregationists and white supremacists and gradualists.  Come sing American Civil Rights and South African Freedom songs and hear the inspiring words of Martin Luther King Jr. to help you meet whatever resistance may challenge your light!

We will reflect more on the ancient Christian path that leads from zero to oneness, from self-emptying to a transformed life of the greatest meaning, joy and love (see the sermons from December 23rd and January 13th).

Last week we talked about the Greek terms kenosis (self-emptying) and metanoia (transforming our heart, mind and spirit beyond where they are now toward being ever more Christ-like).  This week we will add a third Greek term that is in a direct line with those two on the spiritual path: agape (Christ-like or God-like love that is generous-hearted, universal, that sees and loves all creation as one).  On the traditional, saint-trod spiritual path, kenosis and metanoia lead to agape.

Martin Luther King Jr. is not only a model of this, but also a teacher—he wrote an extremely important essay entitled “An Experiment in Love” about how this path leads to individual and community transformation.  He wrote eloquently about the power and purpose of agape.  We will hear him teach us and call us, and then we will ask what we can do now in the crises of our day to fulfill that calling.  (Racism in Vermont has been in the headlines this week, along with many other issues that need the active assertion of the ethic of love.)

At the end of the worship service we will hear King’s voice preaching the ending of his last sermon.  Then we will sing “We Shall Overcome” and process to the Parish Hall where we will have a meeting to which all are invited.  The meeting is the second this month on Fulfilling Our Vision, specifically where our new Future Directions vision says “We intend to be a force, not merely a presence, effecting positive social change for peace, justice and the care of God’s creation.”

During the service we will read passages from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (“An Experiment in Love,” “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and other writings) and from the Bible (from Isaiah 49, I John 3 and 4, and Luke 4).  We will sing “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” “I Woke Up This Morning,” and “Once to Every Heart and Nation,” as well as “We Shall Overcome.”  The choir will sing “Siyahamba (We Are Marching in the Light of God)” and “Thuma Mina (Send Me, Lord).”

 

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