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Timothy Tilghman

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn. 2:1-12).

This Sunday, we celebrate the life of Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today's gospel, Jesus' first sign at the wedding at Cana, is familiar to most of us. Jesus turns water into the best wine and saves the day for the newly married couple. Jesus' mother, Mary, who is the perfect disciple, shows us the way to live our lives in service of the gospel. When Mary invites her son to intervene and he responds, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come," Mary responds like the perfect disciple, which is the way that Dr. King ministered to the world.

King began his final message with these words:

if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?" I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch God's children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I would not stop there.

The title of today's message comes from King's final message, "… and, I would not stop there." How often do we stop before asking for God's intervention and miss the miracle in life? Mary was undeterred, and after Jesus' "My hour has not yet come," sends the groom's people to Jesus with the tasking, "Do whatever he tells you." Believing that Jesus would respond to a disciple's repeated petition, Mary faithfully makes another request, and Jesus responds. And, what does King do in his final message?

Being a great man of faith in the midst of darkness, Dr. King would not stop after the Exodus, he visits with the great minds of Greece, comes to the Renaissance, joins his namesake, a young priest named Martin Luther, in presenting his "95 Theses," recalls Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and Roosevelt's courageous "… there is nothing to fear but fear itself." Recalling the history of God's intervention in ancient times, the Middle Ages and at critical moments in US History, Dr. King was in Memphis because faith impelled him to live out his mantra, "… and, I would not stop there." Like the Mary, the Blessed Mother, King was relentless in seeking the Light in the midst of darkness.

Mary continued to walk with her Son Jesus. Persisting Dr. King in the midst of darkness, he continued to seek the Light of Christ. We are hopeful because of the faith of Mary and Dr. King. Life begins and hope continues at the end of this gospel because "Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory." Do you believe it? You have the power to continue to make Jesus' glory real. Do you have faith?

It is obvious that young Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was moved by faith. He practiced what Henry Nouwen calls "Radical Waiting." In his final message, he recalled how people of faith intervened to build God's kingdom in the world, from Moses up to President Franklin D Roosevelt. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington for Voting Rights, protests of the Vietnam War, and intervention on behalf of the sanitation workers in Memphis, were a continuation of the great work of the prophets and faithful to build the kingdom.

On a day like today, when there was turmoil and uncertainty in the neighborhood, nation, and the world, Dr. King could see the light in the midst of darkness and proceeded to the light, overcoming obstacles. He showed the road out of darkness and took it. His mantra, "… and, I would not stop there," is an invitation for us to make love the dominant force in our space, just as Mary, the prophets, and King did. "Radical Waiting" is taking action based on the history of our faith. We are standing in the conversation with the Almighty. What will you and I do?

Authored: Timothy Tilghman, the Deacon in the Neighborhood

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