Martin Luther King Day Invocation

Martin Luther King Day Invocation
Delivered by Rabbi David Zaslow at South Medford High School Sunday, January 14. 2007

“Mee Kamokha b’ayleem Adonai.” This was the song that Moses sang to the children of Israel after they had crossed the Sea. The people thought that they were free – they didn’t realize they would have to wander in the desert forty years before they could enter the Promised Land. And even before the wandering began they were tested at the Sea which in Hebrew is called “The Sea Which is the End.” By faith alone they crossed, and the waters parted – not by might and not by power, but by the Spirit of the Holy One.

We shall overcome. How? With the technology of non-violence that Rev. King taught us to use. With the knowledge that it is by the Spirit of G-d alone that peace and justice can be achieved. Rev. King taught us all how to never let despair rule over hope. We shall overcome. Why? Because we refuse to be ruled by that which divides us. We give ourselves wholeheartedly to that which unites us: Black and Latino. Asian and White, Jews and Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu, Native peoples, peoples of all faiths, and people of uncertain faith.

We shall overcome. Overcome what? We shall overcome war, poverty, the ongoing racism that is endemic throughout the world. We shall overcome the reemergence of anti-Semitism that is once again scapegoating the Jews in the disguise of anti-Zionism. We shall overcome the unbalanced criticism and targeting the nation of Israel. We shall overcome sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and the destruction of our planet. We shall overcome religious extremism and secular extremism as well.

We shall overcome that within ourselves that creates enemies where there needs to be dialogue – between Suni and Shia, between liberals and conservatives, between people of good faith on both sides of difficult issues, between ourselves and ourselves.

G-d, Adonai, Allah, Great Spirit, Divine Knowing of the Universe, Melekh HaOlam bless us today as one, bless us as we honor the prophet of our generation who taught us the real meaning of shalom – wholeness and how we need each other…who understood the deep meaning of the Biblical story of Moses and Pharaoh, of Israel and Egypt – that by liberating Black Americans from their oppression White Americans would be liberated as well from their racism as well. Bless us today as we honor the Moses of our time who is still taking us to the Promised Land of hope, justice, liberty, and freedom. Let us cross the sea together now and sing together the words of Moses: “Mee Kamokha b’ayleem Adonai….Who is like you Lord among all that which is worshipped?”

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