Sunday, April 19
The Lord’s Day
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Minute for Mission: McCormick Theological Seminary
I will long remember the rich fellowship that we shared last year.
Though it may sound like something Paul wrote, this sentence is from a letter dated November 2, 1960. Addressed to Dr. Arthur McKay, then president of McCormick Theological Seminary, the letter is signed, “Very sincerely yours, Martin Luther King Jr.”
While planning for last year’s Black History Month celebration, Veronica Johnson (our alumni/ae director) and professor Ken Sawyer were rummaging through storage and came across letters, photos, and news clippings in a box labelled “MLK.” The above letter was one among many shared between President McKay and Dr. King from 1959 to 1960. The box also contained an order of service for April 20, 1959, when Dr. King preached “Paul’s Letter to American Christians”—first delivered in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956—for the McCormick community.
When news of this discovery spread, 1962 alum David Bebb Jones searched among his materials and found a live recording of Dr. King’s address. Professor Reggie Williams later shared the audio with students in a session for his course on the ethics of King and Bonhoeffer.
History often documents moments of serendipity: the surprising fellowship between a seminary community and a young civil rights pastor, the chance retrieval of words and sounds that capture a legacy of justice, and a community sustained over the centuries through the breaking of bread among friends on this journey toward prophetic discipleship.
Let us pray
God of justice and of peace, you call us in Jesus Christ to bear witness to the mysterious surprises of your grace. Strengthen us through the Holy Spirit to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you as we sustain each other through the bonds of fellowship that hold us together. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
“Were You There”
GTG 228, HB 201, PH 102
“O God, Be Gracious”
1 John 3:1–7
“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
GTG 366, HB 399, PH 376
“Fairest Lord Jesus”
GTG 630, HB 135, PH 306