“The Bible and the Legacy of Slavery in America”
Sermon based on Numbers 14:18, Matt. 7:12, Luke 4:16-21, Gal. 3:28, Col. 3:22-24
Paul E. Capetz
Christ Church by the Sea (United Methodist),
Newport Beach January 26, 2020
This past Monday our nation observed “Martin Luther King Jr. Day.” King was our country’s most famous civil rights leader. He was struck down by an assassin’s bullet on April 4, 1968, at the young age of 39, leaving behind a widow and four small children. Despite the shortness of his life, King accomplished so much that changed our nation forever. As a result of his leadership, discrimination based on race or skin color was outlawed and America took an important step forward in the direction of realizing its ideal of “liberty and justice for all.”
King was not only a shaper of American history but also an exemplary Christian. If we would appreciate his real significance, we must remember that he was first and foremost a Baptist minister. Even his work in the movement for civil rights was an extension of his calling to serve the church. Historically, the black church provided black people a refuge from the cruelties and humiliations they have had to suffer in America. It was in the church that they felt a sense of their dignity and worth as human beings created in the image of God. Although King’s tangible accomplishments were political and legal in nature, they were the fruits of the religious and moral convictions that had been nurtured in the black church. Since we here in this church are both American citizens and Christians, we should ask ourselves: What significance does King’s legacy have for us as we seek to live out our Christian discipleship in the context of the American nation? What can predominantly white churches learn from this legacy of the black church that Dr. King embodied so well?