A reflection by the Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker.
Scripture: Isaiah 49:3-4 (NRSV)
And he said to me, 'You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.'
But I said, 'I have laboured in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the Lord,
and my reward with my God.'
Friends, I am writing this reflection from the beautiful Island of Antigua. Even here, where the views take your breath away, the breeze caresses you with gentleness and the sun kisses your skin, one cannot escape the painful conversation about the political situation in the United States. Most alarming, to me, has been the continuous news about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
As we look forward to the commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, we remember his journey and sacrifice. We recognize that his contributions will continue to impact generations to come. We, also, remember that he was killed. Today, I ask, in the words of Bob Marley, “How long shall [they] kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?”
The killings, these days, come in a different form. We kill our prophets by rescinding their gains on freedom and equality. I remember walking, marching, testifying, protesting, to advance the agenda of Universal Health Care. I was not alone—there were hundreds of us working tirelessly. We were propelled by the believe that health care is a human right and a moral imperative. Our unwavering commitment, assured that we had one of the best Insurance Exchanges in the country.
Friends, “How long shall [they] kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?” On Monday, many of us will be attending services to remember Dr. King. I hope that while we are singing songs of freedom, we reflect on the fact that, still today, we are being judged by the color of our skin and that injustice, racism and inequality are highly adaptable.
Dios de Amor y Misericordia, give us the courage to recognize that songs of freedom shall inspire us, but our actions are a response to the call you have placed in us to "do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God." Amen.
Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker is the senior pastor of First Church of Christ, in Hartford.
January 11, 2017