Friday, April 04, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Preachers

I was inducted today into the Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Preachers at Dr. King's alma mater, Morehouse College.

We started the day with a lecture by Dr. Lawerence Carter, Dean of the King Chapel at Morehouse, on the influences shaping King's life and ministry. The Chapel halls are adorned with oil portraits of spiritual leaders who have advanced God's Kingdom of justice and love in the world, and Dean Carter (photo) deftly connected all of their stories and contributions together in a wonderful reminder of our "single strand of destiny."

Then, we moved to the chapel for the induction ceremony. The massive pipe organ sounded the keynote of the day with an improvisation on the old hymn, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." The renowned Morehouse Men's Choir sang an a cappella rendition of "Everytime I Feel the Spirit." The Rev. Billy Kyles (photo), who with the now deceased Rev. Ralph Abernathy, was the last person to see King alive before his untimely death 40 years ago today, preached a powerful message, "I Was There To Be a Witness." Indeed, the sermon was more prophetic challenge for the future than historical remembrance of the past. I wondered not only about my witness, but that of the young students in the congregation, some of them my own from Mercer University. How will we fulfill our Lord's prophecy and charge to be witnesses to the uttermost parts of the world? Read more about Rev. Kyles' sermon at:

It was an extra pleasure to celebrate this occasion with my San Antonio pastor friends, the Rev. Carlton Allen and the Rev. Thuman Walker (photo). We remembered together our collaboration in the citywide Martin Luther King Jr. worship service we were privileged to host at Trinity Baptist several years ago, as well as our other joint projects of racial reconciliation.

This recognition is perhaps the highest honor of my pastoral career. It is a most moving occasion for both Jana and me, and a tribute to the loving and inclusive faith communities I have been privileged to serve throughout my ministry.