"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low... and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed… all flesh shall see it together." These words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I have a dream" speech, reflecting the words of the Prophet Isaiah, demonstrate how firmly rooted his vision of the Beloved Community is rooted in the Bible's vision of God's dream for the human family.
Yet these visionary mountain top images were lived out in his life and ministry in specific and concrete practices. That's why we begin celebrating the King holiday weekend Saturday morning with a day of service right here in our own community, serving the folks who are our guests at our Food pantry -- a specific act of compassion. We continue that celebration in our diocesan service on Saturday afternoon and in our Sunday masses at St. Johns.
This weekend also begins our celebration of Black History month in our congregation, culminating on February 16 with the celebration of Absalom Jones Day, the first African American priest ordained in the Episcopal Church. That day we will also welcome The Rt. Rev. Carl Wright, Bishop of the Armed Forces, as our guest preacher. Bishop Wright has a history at St. John's having spent time here as a seminarian, during the time of Fr. Warner Traynham. During this month we also use our beautiful mudcloth vestments in our liturgies.
In February we also welcome Episcopal Peace Fellowship representative Melanie Atha as our guest preacher to help us engage more intentionally the work of non-violence in our congregation and diocese.
Throughout this month let's re-commit ourselves to the vision of Dr. King, which is the vision of Jesus who called his first disciples and continues to call us to live out his mission expressed in his famous first sermon, also from the Prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).