There was perhaps no better thing to do today than to advocate on behalf of the homeless. Charlie Clements, President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee joined us at the UU Mass Action Network Lobby Day and spoke about how one year to the day before he was assassinated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. gave his famous address at the Riverside Church – Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence in which King tied the struggle for Civil Rights at home to the absurd war in Vietnam abroad. Clements reminded us that King was crucified in the press for doing this and even criticized by the NAACP, yet Clements also reminded us that King was right and that one of the reasons we were all here today seeking funding for housing and anti-poverty measures was the $720 million a DAY being spent on the war in Iraq.
The only time anyone has ever walked out on a sermon of mine was when I preached about exactly this topic. I compared King’s Riverside address to the situation in Iraq on MLK day in a sermon I gave as the guest preacher at the UU Church in Gardner, MA. As soon as I got to Iraq, a man in the back got up and walked out. So be it. This is that sermon.
Prophetically, eerily, in the speech he gave in Memphis the night before he died, King alluded to the last line of, Ha’Azinu, the Song of Moses (Deut 32:1-52), when God tells him he won’t lead his people into Canaan,
“I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…