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the words of the prophet

01/12/2023 10:38:50 AM

Jan12

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

If you look at the end of an email, you will frequently find additional information from the sender.  In some places, this is termed the address card.  A person’s address, telephone number, fax(remember those?) or website might be listed. Some senders have their business card embedded at the bottom.  Some people include thoughtful quotes from people of renown. I do all of the above.  I also include a reminder that Tree of Life is not yet open, but will be soon one day, and inform people where we temporarily worship. 

There are two quotations that I share at the end of my emails.  The second is by Master Yoda. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to H. H leads to suffering.   ‘Nuff said on that. The first is by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., taken from a book of sermons that he published in 1963 titled “Strength to Love”.  Dr. King wrote the following: Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. H cannot drive out H, only love can do that. 

If ever I witnessed the embodiment of the ancient Israelite prophet, it was Dr. King. As did Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and two of his favorites, Micah and Hosea, Dr. King regularly chastised all of us for straying from God’s expectations. The magnificent way that he wove Biblical text into his sermons and speeches reflects the grandest style not just of preachers, but prophets. But what of today?

Where are the modern-day prophets to call us out when we stray? Who chastises us for our moral and ethical failures? Who demands that we cleave to the path of righteousness? Dr. King’s assassination left a void that has never been filled to this day, at least not by a prophet. Sadly, it has been overrun by purveyors of H and violence, with the absence of moral voices echoing through the canyons of our metropolises and village squares.

As we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday, it would do all of us well to read and listen to his words, not merely to honor his legacy, but to bathe in his passion and feed oxygen to the Divine spark within each of us to bring his dreams closer to reality. Just having a day off without acting upon his exhortations makes for a hollow day that perpetuates the vacuum.

If you have not seen the publicity, you are most warmly welcomed to our Unity Weekend in collaboration with our friends at Ebenezer Baptist Church. They will pray with us this coming Shabbat morning, and we will pray with them on Sunday morning. Rev. Dr. Vincent Campbell will deliver the homily and I will chant words of Dr. King set to prophetic chant. May not only the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. be for a blessing, but may each of us be inspired to act upon his words.

Wed, February 1 2023 10 Shevat 5783