A benediction offered by Bishop Alan M. Gates at the 45th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast on Jan. 19, 2015:
With the voice of a prophet did Amos say: “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.” [5:15] Pray, dear friends, that we would know the evil we must hate, the good we must love, and the justice we must pursue without ceasing.
With the voice of a prophet did Jane Addams say: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” Pray, dear friends, that we would not rest until the common good in this Commonwealth is uncommonly complete.
With the voice of a prophet did Desmond Tutu say: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Pray, dear friends, that we not remain neutral when injustice is the elephant in the room.
With the voice of a prophet did Mary Wollstonecraft say: “It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.” Pray, dear friends, that we not satisfy our consciences with charity, but save our souls with justice.
With the voice of a prophet did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say: “With faith, we will be able to go on to carve a tower of hope on the mountain of despair, and bring into being that great dream, and create right here in America a nation where all will live together … and respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.”
In a year when our mountain of despair seems to have grown higher rather than lower, pray, dear friends, that we will yet carve that tower of hope on the mountain of despair. Pray that, like Dr. King, you and I might be possessed by righteousness, until that day when righteousness reigns supreme.
And now may the Lord bless and guard you. May God illumine your path, guide your hands, and strengthen your will, this day and always; in the Name of the Holy One. Amen.