Litanies & Prayers

Hear this, O People of the Dream

A litany for worship commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by Ken Sehested

Hear this, O People of the Dream: It is good and right that you recall the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the movement which mobilized him. The journey to the Beloved Community is sometimes dark and desperate and dangerous, and we need constellating light to orient our hearts and direct our feet.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast by Thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray.*

We confess, oh God, that the dream once unfurled with unmatched eloquence on our nation’s lawn has been tamed by pious sentiment and framed for commercial interests. The oratory that once sent shivers through White House and big house and church house alike has been reduced to polite platitude, “race relations” Sundays and gushy, mushy reverie.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee; Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;*

Ignite in us again the Word that stirs insurrection against every imperial reign, against every forecloser’s claim, against every slaver’s chain, until the Faith which death could not contain, the Hope which doubt could not constrain and the Love which fear could not arraign lifts every voice to sing till earth and heaven ring!

Let our rejoicing rise, High as the list'ning skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea!*

©Ken Sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org
 *Lines from “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson