We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

The Season after the Epiphany – What’s it all about ? Focus on the Gospels

The Season after the Epiphany – Epiphany is all about establishing the identity of Jesus. Now that he has been born who is he ?   Epiphany continues to define who Jesus is – healer, preacher and the Messiah, the last one comes early in Epiphany and continues.

Epiphany refers to the appearance of Jesus Christ as the savior of the world—of Israel and the Gentiles.  For this reason, Epiphany is commonly associated with the visitation of the Magi (or “wise men”), who were almost certainly Gentiles, in Matthew 2:1–12.

We focus on the mission of the church to reach all the peoples of the earth with the great gift of God’s grace in revealing healing truth and light to the world.”

It is very much present oriented. The main idea of Epiphany is that Christ is the light of the world that came at Christmas and now beckons us to travel with Him ths year. The story of the Epiphany is about discovery—following a star to the source of salvation.Epiphany is filled with unexpected revelations that change our minds and ways – we have to be willing to experience them.

Epiphany is our jumping off spot. From the Eucharistic Prayer – “With each new day, you call us to feed the hungry, bring recovery of sight to the blind, liberate the oppressed, heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds, and keep watch for the dawn of your reign on this earth. ”

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The Way of Love – in summary

1.  From the book Love is the Way by Michael Curry

Love is a firm commitment to act for the well-being of someone other than yourself. It can be personal or political, individual or communal, intimate or public. Love will not be segregated to the private, personal precincts of life. Love, as I read it in the Bible, is ubiquitous. It affects all aspects of life.”

“Love is a commitment to seek the good and to work for the good and welfare of others. It doesn’t stop at our front door or our neighborhood, our religion or race, or our state’s or your country’s border

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan 18-25, 2024

Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between 18-25 January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul.

Check out the event website. The chosen theme is ‘You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself’ (Luke 10:27). Go and do likewise!

The materials for 2024 were prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso Burkina Faso is located in West Africa in the Sahel region, which includes the neighboring countries of Mali and Niger with It has 21 million inhabitants.  64% of the population is Muslim, 9% adheres to traditional African religions and 26% is Christian (20% Catholic, 6% Protestant).

From the materials   “Burkina Faso is currently experiencing a serious security crisis, which affects all the communities of faith. After a major jihadist attack was mounted from outside the country in 2016, the security situation in Burkina Faso, and consequently its social cohesion, deteriorated dramatically. The country has endured a proliferation of terrorist attacks, lawlessness and human trafficking. This has left over three thousand dead and almost two million internally displaced persons in the country. Thousands of schools, health centers and town halls have been closed, and much of the socio-economic and transport infrastructure has been destroyed. Attacks targeting specific ethnic groups exacerbate the risk of inter-communal conflicts. In the context of this dire security situation, social cohesion, peace and national unity are being undermined.

“Christian churches have been expressly targeted by armed attacks. Priests, pastors and catechists have been killed during worship and the fate of others who were kidnapped remains unknown. At the time of writing, more than 22% of the national territory is outside the control of the state. Christians can no longer openly practice their faith in these areas. Because of terrorism, the majority of Christian churches in the north, east and north-west of the country have been closed. There is no longer any public Christian worship in many of these areas. Where worship is still possible, with police protection, usually in large cities, it has been necessary to shorten services owing to security concerns. 

“Nevertheless, a degree of solidarity is emerging between the Christian, Muslim and traditional religions. Their leaders are working to find lasting solutions for peace, social cohesion and econciliation. …”

“Following the government’s calls for prayers for peace, social cohesion and reconciliation, individual churches continue to organize daily prayers and fasting. Action by the various Catholic and Protestant churches has intensified to assist displaced persons. Reflection and awareness-raising meetings have been organized to promote better understanding of the situation and of the value of fraternity, and to develop strategies for a return to lasting peace.

“The invitation to work together on the texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024 challenges the different churches in Burkina Faso to walk, pray and work together in mutual love during this difficult period for their country. The love of Christ that unites all Christians is stronger than their divisions and the Christians of Burkina Faso commit themselves to walking the path of love of God and love of neighbor. They are confident that God’s love will overcome the violence that currently afflicts their country.”

“The churches of Burkina Faso have invited us to join with them in a process of self-reflection as they consider what it means to love our neighbor in the midst of a security crisis

In Pursuit of Peter – Confession


Caesarea Philippi

Video on Peter’s Confession

The first 5 minutes are the most important. You are there at the same place where the confession occurred.

Transcript of the key moment

“Jesus has come to this center for pagan worship.( Caesarea Philippi in Israel). Everything here would be abhorrent to a conservative jew, like Peter. The deities of the pagan world were more active, and more powerful in certain locations than others, and this surreal-looking place, to them, was a place where you could expect deities to be active. what you’re standing on here would be full of worshipers… of the deity, pan, whose statue is going to be tucked in here. In fact, Eusebius, the church historian, says this cave was the entrance to hades. Many people made the trek here to worship the Greek god, Pan. Pan was half human, with the hind legs and the horns of a goat. His powers were said to rule over nature, and especially fertility. the words “panic” and “pandemonium” have their origins in the myths surrounding pan. The religious expression of pan’s worshipers played out in acts of raw lust and hedonism. The scene to be deeply disturbing to Peter – every norm of observant Judaism would be violated. A high point for Peter’s discipleship of Jesus occurs here. You know Jesus begins by asking them, “who do people say that i am?” some of the disciples say, “you’re a prophet, “some say you’re Elijah.” And Peter finally nails it, “you are the Christ, the messiah, the son of god, “fulfillment of messianic promises.” And that’s a huge moment, and Jesus, in effect, says, “you got it.”

“When Jesus asked the disciples, “who do people say that i am?” and he starts to hear answers that fit the sea of galilee context, he says, “but what about you?” and Peter’s right there. He’s going, “oh, i get it. “You want us to put the question in the right context. “You are the Christ,” and then he adds, “the son of the living god. in contrast to everything “that’s claiming authenticity here, you’re the real deal.” Jesus affirms what Peter said, and this is also a very significant statement. He says, “this has been revealed to you “by my heavenly father,” and then he says, “you are Peter,” and remembering that Peter means rock, “and on this rock i will build my church.” and this is an extraordinary moment for Peter.”

Confession of St. Peter, Jan 18, 2024

"St. Peter"- Peter P. Rubens

This is not a confession of the church but relates to Peter, the Apostler !

Jesus went to the predominately pagan region of Caesarea Philipp. Here is the Mark reading (Mark 8:27-30) ” Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.” Peter nailed it at this time

Jan 18 is the day appointed for this event. The collect – "Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. "

Sermon, The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

“As Gail O’Day says in her commentary on John’s gospel, Jesus becomes the bridge between heaven and earth. Knowing Jesus is to see the way to heaven opened for us.”

Have you ever had this experience?  You’re in the grocery store in the produce section.    

Someone comes up to you and says with great intent, “I know you from somewhere.”  This happens to me more than it used to, since there are many short women with gray hair and glasses pushing carts through the grocery store aisles, trying to remember what exactly was on that grocery list that they can’t find—now which pocket did I stuff that list into? 

So there you stand with this person who is sure that they know you from somewhere, and you’re thinking, “I don’t think so, but maybe….”and the person names various places that might have been where they knew you, and then, at last,  there’s an epiphany and the person  says,  “Oh, wait, weren’t you at Christ Church (or wherever) for a while?”  And then the dim lightbulb in your mind gets brighter and you remember–“Oh yes!  I remember now!” and you have a little chat next to the bananas, which yes, you remember, ARE on your grocery list, and then you part ways, hopefully both happy that an old acquaintance has been found and acknowledged even if only for that moment.

So here’s Nathanael, minding his own business when his friend Philip comes running up with some news.  (Remember that people have been fervently hoping for the Messiah).  “We’ve found him!”  Philip says with great excitement—”the one we’ve been waiting for, Jesus of Nazareth!”

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Sunday’s Links, Jan. 14, 2023

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Calling of the disciples, Part 1- Philip and Nathanael

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535
  • Wed., Jan 10, Ecumenical Bible Study, Parish House, 10am-12pm  Reading Lectionary for Second Sunday after the Epiphany
  • Thurs., Jan 11, Vestry, Parish House, 2pm

  • Lectionary, Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Jan 14
  • Servers, Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Jan 14
    Lector: Ben Hicks
    Chalice Bearer: Alice Hughes
    Altar Cleanup: Jan Saylor
  • Wed., Jan 17, Ecumenical Bible Study, Parish House, 10am-12pm  Reading Lectionary for Third Sunday after the Epiphany
  • Wed., Jan 17, Village Harvest, 3pm-5pm . Please email Andrea to volunteer at wakepogue.public@gmail.com, or (540) 847-9002. Pack bags 1-3PM, Deliver food to clients’ cars 3-5PM
  • Thurs., Jan 18, Sacred Ground, 7pm Link. Meeting ID: 892 6886 3201 Passcode: 138914.
  • Thurs., Jan 18, Confession of St. Peter
  • Thurs., Jan 18 -25, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

  • Jan., 2024 newsletter
  • All articles for Sunday, Jan 14, 2024
  • Recent Articles, Jan. 14, 2024

    Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Jan 14

    Photos
    Bulletin, Jan 14
    Lectionary, Jan 14
    Sermon
    Lectionary commentary
    Visual lectionary
    God’s Calling to Us
    “Come and See”
    Sunday’s Thoughts, Jan 14
    The Gospel of Mark online resources
    Season after the Epiphany – What’s it all about?

    Ministries
    A Case for Love movie

    Dr. Martin Luther King birthday, Jan 15
    Accomplishments of Martin Luther King
    Celebrating King’s birthday
    King, a filmed record
    The Call of Prophey, King and Samuel
    Footage from the 1963 March on Washingon
    Letter from a Birmingham Jail

    Confession of St. Peter, Jan 18
    In Pursuit of Peter and the Confession
    Confession of St. Peter, Jan 18

    Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Jan 14, 2024

    I.Theme –   Discipleship and calling

     "Calling Disciples" –He Qi (2001)

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

    Old Testament – 1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20)
    Psalm – Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
    Epistle –1 Corinthians 6:12-20
    Gospel – John 1:43-51

    Samuel – calling Samuel
    Paul – call to honor their bodies. 
    John – calling Philip and Nathanael

    From Bruce Epperly  "Process and Faith"

    "Today’s readings describe the many faces of revelation. God’s presence and activity is both intimate and global. The heavens declare the glory of God and God’s glory is also revealed through the chanting of toddlers, nocturnal whispers, beating hearts, and adult inspirations. God is as equally present in our cells as in our souls. Our universe is omni-centered, that is, all things exist as a result of God’s energy and inspiration coursing through them.There are no God-forsaken places or persons – we are challenged to experience, honor, and support God’s movements in all creation. While this may complicate our ethical decision-making, it opens us to a world of wonder and beauty, appropriate to the Season after the Epiphany.

    "Despite our turning from God, God is always turning toward us. There is hope for transformation in the most dire situations and most despicable people. 

    "The call of Samuel reminds us that children as well as adults can be God’s messengers to the world. God is moving through boys and girls listening to a children’s sermon or having their diapers changed in the church nursery. Samuel is both an unlikely and likely candidate for divine inspiration. He is a child and hardly expected to hear the voice of God, and yet he does. Yet, from the beginning of his life, he was a child of promise – his mother dedicated him to God and her fidelity to her promise may have opened unexpected pathways of divine presence in his life. 

    "In seeing and honoring God’s presence in our children – and that means all children! – we awaken energies of growth and inspiration within them and ourselves. 

    "The call of Samuel reminds us that divine inspiration requires a community to be fully understood. After all, God’s voice comes in the context and through the many voices of our lives. It takes a process of discernment to discover which of the voices in our lives is most authentic to our vocation as God’s loving and beloved children. Samuel seeks the guidance of Eli. 

    "We all need mentors who, in non-possessive ways, call forth our ability to hear God’s voice and movements in our lives. Samuel’s call in not just personal or individual, it is contextual. Our calls, accordingly, draw us deeper into our own experiences and yet lure us toward care for the larger community. The journey of revelation is always both inward and outward, and needs a community of discernment to mature and find direction. 

    "Psalm 139: 1-18 places each life in a divine environment. We live and move and have our being in relationship to God. God’s care and character determine God’s presence, action, and awareness of us. God is not out to get us or use divine knowledge to punish us. God fully knows us and fully loves us. This inspires both wonder and gratitude. More than that, God’s love leads to creating us as awesome and wonder-full from the moment of conception. Questions of “when life begins” are foolish from the Psalmist’s perspective and should not enter the political conversations of right and left, nor Christian arguments for the legality or prohibition of abortion. 

    "The Psalmist is clear that God cares for the fetus, and that shouldn’t be a matter of controversy even for those who support abortion rights. We cannot devaluate fetal life to affirm the lives of women. Both are valuable and cherished by God. This makes life and death decisions more complicated – and involves weighing contrasting values – but in the complication we may discover broader community and individual answers that honor both women and unborn children. (For more on ethics in the context of divine omnipresence, see Bruce Epperly, Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, Continuum and Emerging Process: Adventurous Theology for a Missional Church, Parson’s Porch.) 

    "Divine activity sustains all things. Divine knowledge embraces all things. Divine presence supports all things. I purposely added verses 7-12 to today’s readings to render a more holistic reading of the Psalm. It is a Psalm of wonder and gratitude, of insight and inspiration, that has profound implications for how we view ourselves and others. We are wonderfully made – we are beautiful – and so is every other God-loved child. 

    "Today’s readers need not get bogged down on the minutia of I Corinthians 12. The passage speaks of temple prostitution and spirituality and sexuality, but it is really about the affirmation and care of our bodies. There is no mind-body dualism here: when Paul speaks of the body as the temple of God, he is clear that the body is connected with the spirit – each shapes the other. The spirit is embodied and the body is inspired. Our bodies are temples, that is, shrines to divine wisdom and deserve both affirmation and care. Glorify God in your bodies implies that we are to treat our bodies as expressions of divinity – this applies to our diet, sexuality, and lifestyle. 

    "It also applies to our care for the bodies of others. Recent allegations of child sexual abuse in major university sports programs remind and challenge us to support the safety of every child. More than that, we are called as churches to honor all bodies and perceive and affirm the goodness of all creation. This involves feeding hungry bodies, restoring broken bodies, healing sick bodies, and affirming all bodies as beloved by God. 

    "There are no perfect bodies. Nor are a culture’s standards of beauty absolute. Rather, the church is called to be counter-cultural: to promote wellness, but also to see God’s wonder in every body. We are all awesomely made. We need to see and bring forth beauty where others see ugliness. 

    "The gospel story presents Jesus’ call to Philip and Nathaniel. While the details of Jesus’ call are sparse, the scripture points out that God calls people in everyday life. Adults can open the doors of perception, experience divinity, and come to God in child-like spirits. John’s gospel describes a community of call in which our experiences of call and vocational inspiration inspire us to invite others to be part of the Jesus’ movement. There is no compulsion here, just invitation. “Come and see.” For those who respond, the heavens open up, new horizons emerge, and our lives are forever transformed. 

    "The call of God goes forth – everywhere. The doctrines of omnipresence, omniscience, and omni-activity (omnipotence) are not stale era pieces, irrelevant to our lives, but invitations to adventure – to see God everywhere, to experience God in our daily lives, to honor embodiment, and welcome revelation whenever and wherever it occurs. We are to be discerning and ask questions of ourselves and others when we have had mystical experiences. In the questioning, inspired by a sense of holiness in all moments and all creatures, we will discover God’s voice amid the voices, and God’s pathways amid the pathways we travel individually and as communities. " 

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    God’s Calling to us – What is it and how do we hear it?

    From SALT Blog

    What does God’s Calling mean ?

    Several possibilities:
    1. Exploring what should I do with my life
    2. Organizing Getting my bearings in the new year.
    3. Be still and reflective. Listen for God’s calling.

    “(1) God’s calling can be about “what I should do with my life,” but it also can be about getting our bearings, especially in times of trouble and disorientation. In fact, the word “orientation” comes from the Latin orientem (“east”), the direction of the rising sun and also (for Europeans and North Africans) the direction of the Holy Land. In times of turmoil, God reorients us, bringing us back to what’s truly most important.

    “(2) How do we hear and follow God’s call? When we sense a prompting, an encouragement, or a tug on our sleeve, how do we recognize its source? From Samuel’s story, one mark of a divine summons is repetition, and so we might ask: Does the prompting persist, or is it fleeting? Another clue is in Eli’s advice to be still and deliberately, thoughtfully listen, making time and space for reflection (“Speak, for your servant is listening”). And a third potential sign is those “tingling ears” (v. 11): the Spirit’s work in our lives will challenge and stir us, and that inspiration can mean we are moving in the right direction.

    “(3) Likewise, from John’s story we can glean that God’s calling typically meets us where we are. Andrew gets a trusted recommendation and a day with Jesus; Philip jumps aboard right away; and Nathanael engages in skeptical debate. In short, there’s no one right way to respond to God’s call. There’s plenty of room under the tent of discipleship, both for those ready to take the plunge and for those who’d rather put a toe in first…

    “(4) One of the most celebrated definitions of vocation is Frederick Buechner’s: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It’s a lovely definition — but it sometimes doesn’t seem to fit. Moses, for example, doesn’t demonstrate much “deep gladness” when God calls him at the burning bush (Moses sums up the discussion with, “O my Lord, please send someone else!” (Ex 4:13)); nor does Samuel particularly glad when God calls him to deliver difficult news to Eli. In the Gospels, too, the disciples eventually experience their calling as leading them into struggle, not away from it. In the end, Buechner’s formula is still a valuable discernment tool, but so is its complementary opposite: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep discomfort and the world’s deep blessings meet.” Especially in times of trouble and trial, this definition of vocation can be illuminating.

    “(5) Finally, Jesus’ words (and Philip’s echo of them) — “Come and see” — stand out this week as a witness and a challenge. For both Andrew and Nathanael, and for many of us besides, second-hand reports just won’t do. We want to come and see for ourselves. For John, this is the primary mode of spreading the good news and growing the community of disciples — and churches today are wise to do the same. Try this line of questions with your community: If we were to invite a friend to experience the best of our congregation’s life and work with this simple, three-word invitation, “Come and see,” to what specifically would we invite them? A worship service, a service project, a small group meeting? Where and when do we most vividly, experientially embody the Gospel we proclaim?

    Come and See

    Former Lutheran seminary president David Lose writes the following this week about "Come and See":

    "These words, this invitation, form the heart not simply of this opening scene but much of John’s Gospel. John’s story is structured around encounters with Jesus. Again and again, from these early disciples, to the Pharisee named Nicodemus, to the Samaritan women at the well, to the man born blind, to Peter and Pilate and eventually Thomas, characters throughout John’s Gospel are encountered by Jesus. John structures his story this way, I think, to offer us a variety of possibilities, both in terms of the kind of people to whom Jesus reaches out and the kinds of responses they offer…and we might offer as well. And so across the pages of John’s Gospel there are women and men, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, powerful and vulnerable, people of all shapes and sizes and varieties that Jesus meets. And to each one, in one way or another, he says the same thing: come and see. Come and see God do a new thing. Come and see as your future opens up in front of you. Come and see the grace of God made manifest and accessible and available to all."

    This is the Sunday to invite someone to come to Church.  Is St. Peter’s a "good fit" for them ? Come and see. As Lose writes "the number one reason people give for coming to a church for the first time is that someone invited them personally. Just as Philip said to Nathaniel, that is, someone said to them, “Come and see.” Which means that the future of the church depends greatly on ordinary, everyday Christians summoning the courage to invite someone to come and see what they have found in the community of the faithful that is their congregation." Go and Tell.

    Accomplishments of Martin Luther King

    He promoted a vision of equal rights under the law in public accommodations and eliminating segregation throughout America, ignoring the differences in skin color

    To work toward this goal, King helped to popularize the technique of nonviolent confrontations based on his reading of Gandhi, Whitman and others which combined with his organizing abilities helped to bring about successes. King’s techniques for non-violent confrontations are explored here.

    During the less than 13 years of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, African Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced.

    Here’s a sermon Catherine preached in April, 2018 on the 50th anniversary of his death.

    Here are 10 accomplishments of his life:

    Read more

    The Call of Prophecy – King and Samuel

    by Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell

    For many church leaders, in the past and present, we have been called to speak out for God’s ways of righteousness and justice, and sometimes we have to speak out against the very institutions that have nurtured us in our call. We have had to overcome the voices of fear inside us or the voices of doubt outside of us that tell us we haven’t heard God’s call and we should go lie back down. It’s not an easy call to follow. As we honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month we remember King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, in which he writes to some of the very clergy who have supported him but have also tried to stop him, in an attempt to avoid conflict. Prophets are called to speak to conflict, to address it and not run from it, to speak and act out despite their fears and the fears of others. Dr. King certainly did this in his life and ministry. While one can argue for or against calling Dr. King a prophet, it is clear the Dr. King lived his life as many of our Biblical prophets did, speaking and acting out for God’s ways of justice and righteousness. I call him a prophet.

    As we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, the Call of the Prophet Samuel is an appropriate reading for today. In reading Samuel’s story, we can find the story of all prophets who have been called to speak out for God’s ways of justice and righteousness. We find the story of many who have heard the call of God but have had that call questioned by others (in this story, Eli questions the call, but not God, and when Eli is certain it is God calling Samuel, he encourages Samuel to listen to God). God calls Samuel to do something that is not easy: to speak out against Eli’s own sons, that they can’t skate by doing whatever they want to by offering sacrifices afterwards, that they can’t get off because their father is a priest. Samuel has to stand up to the family of the very person who has taken him in and cared for him, the very person who has instructed him how to listen to God’s ways. It is not easy to follow the call of the prophet.

    King: A Filmed Record (1970)

    King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery To Memphis is a 1970 American documentary film biography of Martin Luther King Jr. and his creation and leadership of the nonviolent campaign for civil rights and social and economic justice in the Civil Rights Movement.

    It uses only original newsreel and other primary material, unvarnished and unretouched, and covers the period from the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and 1956 through his assassination in 1968. The original newsreel segments are framed by celebrity narrators Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, Clarence Williams III, and Joanne Woodward.

    The movie was produced by Ely Landau and directed by Sidney Lumet in what was the only documentary he would direct in his whole film career. It lasts 1 hour 45 minutes.

    Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on his birthday, Jan. 15

    “Today I find myself a long way from you and the children. I am at the State Prison in Reidsville which is about 230 miles from Atlanta. They picked me up from the DeKalb jail about 4 ’0 clock this morning. I know this whole experience is very difficult for you to adjust to, especially in your condition of pregnancy, but as I said to you yesterday this is the cross that we must bear for the freedom of our people. So I urge you to be strong in faith, and this will in turn strengthen me. I can assure you that it is extremely difficult for me to think of being away from you and my Yoki and Marty for four months, but I am asking God hourly to give me the power of endurance. I have the faith to believe that this excessive suffering that is now coming to our family will in some little way serve to make Atlanta a better city, Georgia a better state, and America a better country. Just how I do not yet know, but I have faith to believe it will. If I am correct then our suffering is not in vain.” 

    -An excerpt from a letter from Dr. King to Coretta King -October 26, 1960

    “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

    “Fight on Amos”

    Many people now read King’s classic “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963) in college and like the Apostle Paul, King did some of his best work in jail.

    King’s Birmingham Campaign began on April 3, 1963 with coordinated marches and sit-ins against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. The non-violent campaign was coordinated by Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

    On April 10, a blanket injunction was issued against “parading, demonstrating, boycotting, trespassing and picketing”. Leaders of the campaign announced they would disobey the ruling. On Good Friday, April 12, King was roughly arrested with others. The day of his arrest, eight Birmingham clergy members wrote a criticism of the campaign that was published in the Birmingham News, calling its direct action strategy “unwise and untimely.”

    King’s Letter has been called one of the most significant works of the Civil Right movement. You can read it here – and was addressed to the eight clergymen that opposed his action.

    In the letter King applied Amos to his situation, quoting from Amos 5:24. Amos gave his message to the Israelites in 750 BCE. Amos warns the people of Israel that the Lord is displeased with their behavior. People are overly concerned with earthly possessions, bodily desires and there is a shallow adherence to their religious values. Amos tells the people that God will soon judge them for their sins.

    King wrote “But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.”

    He also quoted Amos in the “I Have a Dream” speech, 5 months after the above letter – Dr. King declared, “we will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”

    King had used the message of love when during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956 when white supremacists firebombed his house while he was away and an angry crowd gathered at his home. He told them to go home, saying “We must learn to meet hate with love.”

    Five days later, he received a telegram from Julian Grayson, an undergraduate classmate at Crozer Theological Society who had become a Methodist minister. It read simply, “FIGHT ON AMOS GOD IS WITH YOU.”