Midweek Message

Saturday After Easter – April 14, 2023

Jim Hopkins

April 13, 2023


Sixty years ago this month, after being arrested at a Good Friday protest and taken to Birmingham City Jail, Dr. King wrote his “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” This letter, addressed to the eight white religious leaders who had published a statement declaring that he, King, was an unwelcome “outside agitator” in Birmingham, is one of the most important writings of the 20th century.

In worship tomorrow my sermon will be “Letter From Birmingham Jail at 60.” I will reflect on how the letter speaks to me, a white religious leader, who, like those to whom King’s letter was addressed, can sometimes be more concerned about the problems caused by protests than the problems being protested.

Below is one of my favorite sections of the letter.

But as I continued to think about the matter, I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Jesus an extremist in love? — “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice? — “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ? — “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist? — “Here I stand; I can do no other so help me God.” Was not John Bunyan an extremist? — “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a mockery of my conscience.” Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist? — “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist? — “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” So the question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate, or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?

I hope to see you tomorrow,

Pastor Jim

Today on LABC Zoom – Pastor Carolyn leads A Time For Prayer at 10:00

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Prayers with Gail Carter as she mourns the death of her husband, Dennis, on Wednesday, April 12.