Deans' Note March 27, 2022

On April 4 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a landmark speech not only opposing the war then raging in Vietnam, but connecting calls for peace to the need to respect the dignity of every human being, particularly the people of Vietnam who suffered as the victims of that war. Dr. King saw that the struggle for peace was connected to the struggle for justice, a struggle for a whole new world. He linked the injustice across the intersections of race, class, gender, national boundaries, the developed world and the developing world.

The vision of true peace, the vision of shalom that captivated Dr. King and is the mission of Jesus continues with similar urgency today. As race and class divides, as war rages in Ukraine, the powers of empire that opposed the reign of God Jesus proclaimed still are at work.

On April 4, we will join the Poor People's Campaign in a statewide remembrance of the assassination of Dr. King -- exactly one year from the day when he gave his speech in opposition to the Vietnam War. We will have diverse members of our congregation read selections from the speech, not only to remind us of his vision, but of the vision Jesus continues to give the Church as a voice of true shalom in the face of violence and war. The reading will be available on all our social media pages as well as YouTube.

This remembrance is especially appropriate as we move more deeply into Lent and consider Jesus going to the cross battling the powers of the Roman Empire and the principalities and powers which continue to corrupt and destroy human life.. A week from Sunday, the fifth week of Lent, we will return to our tradition of reading the Passion Gospel in sections and reflect on Jesus' suffering and death through the spoken word and musical responses. The mission of the Kingdom of God inaugurated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus continues in our time, through great prophetic voices such as Dr. King, and through the mission of the Church in our day. May we too be inspired by the Gospel to live God's shalom in our day.