Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Justice was the theme of this year's community service on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Pastor Rick Smith gave a sermon
Story and photos by Anyssa Roberts
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Justice was the theme for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community service on Monday evening.

Pilgrim Memorial Baptist Church hosted the event organized by the Midway Ministerial Association. The audience was an ethnically diverse mix of about 30 people.

The speaker was Pastor Rick Smith of the Second Christian Church in Midway, who delivered a sermon entitled "With This Faith: Faith in Action." Smith said it was inspired not only by Dr. King, but by the silent cries of underrepresented people in his own community.

“What really drives the heart of the message is justice; people who have no voice, have no face, those living on the outside fringes of our society,” he said, “and to empower people with the power to change the system.”

Smith said in his sermon that Dr. King’s fight for action didn’t end with the dream expressed in his “I Have A Dream” speech. He called on the congregation to continue King’s work, and to take heed of how one man’s faith in action could enact justice in the world.

Smith said that he was inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement across the nation and by the work of the Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-action organization. BUILD is a community organization of 20 religious congregations in Lexington.

According to Smith, the group has a mission to give voices to underrepresented people in the community and to work to solve those problems. Last year the group had been investigating and researching violent crimes in Lexington, Smith said, in order to address the issue in the community.

“That’s what Martin Luther King was about,” Smith said, “He was actually empowering people to change systems.” King was also a strong advocate for building community relationships among various ethnic groups.

A choir sang to conclude the service at Pilgrim Baptist Church
Elder William C. Wright of Pilgrim Baptist said he was pleased by the message of the evening as well as the diversity and togetherness of the many churches involved in the service that he saw that night.

“Even though we worship in different ways and even though we come from different denominations, it gives us a chance to get together and to rejoice in the Lord,” Wright said.

To conclude the service, the congregation stood and sang in unison the lyrics of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The lyrics that spoke of perseverance, faith and hope rang within the church walls. The lyrics were representative of the words of Pastor Smith and a reminder of the work of the civil rights movement and the fight for justice.

“Every life matters,” Smith said, “but it’s the lives that don’t have a voice – the voiceless, nameless people – those are the issues that my speech came from.”

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