Martin Luther King, Jr. and Human Relations

. 1 min read
Every year, on the Sunday prior to Martin Luther King Jr.
Day, The United Methodist Church observes Human Relations Day. It is a
celebration of our mission with the least, from those struggling with opioid
addiction to refugees who are fleeing violence and hatred in their homelands. It
is a celebration of our identification with the least: Like the Holy Family
fleeing the wrath of Herod for refuge in Africa, we too are misfits, addicts,
immigrants, poor, alone, homeless, in prison. And it is a celebration of the
church universal and global.
Four and a half years ago our District Superintendent
introduced us to the personnel team of Christ Church. From that first moment,
we learned how you have sent many members in mission and welcomed the stranger
among you. You have put food on the tables of our hungry neighbors, built homes
for first-time homeowners, installed ramps for the elderly and disabled,
nurtured partnerships in Haiti, hosted the homeless in this building, and welcomed
brothers and sisters from Sierra Leone, Africa. As someone who was born and
raised overseas; as a friend and colleague of United Methodist clergy from
Africa, Chile, and India; and as someone who has visited in prisons and eaten
with the homeless, I rejoice.
These days, the rhetoric of race, America’s original sin, is
dominating our news cycles. I am grateful that here at Christ Church, we are
committed to welcome everyone with the same welcome we have received from Jesus
Christ (Romans 15.7). I am blessed by the way we have treasured the Revelator’s
vision of a great multitude of every tribe, language, people and nation
worshiping together (Revelation 7.8). And I give thanks to God for our faithful
practice of the baptismal vow:
Do you confess Jesus Christ as your
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your
in union with the church
which Christ has opened to people
of all ages, nations, and races?

May we all continue to witness to this truth with our words
and actions, and with grace and hope.