The January 23 worship service focused on the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in particular the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It was written in longhand on April 16, 1963. Confined to his cell for participation in non-violent demonstrations against segregation, Dr. King was responding to a public statement of concern and caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South.
“I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the 8th century B.C. left their villages and carried their ‘thus saith the Lord’ far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own hometown. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid….