"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its poetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause people everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. People far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travellers at midnight."(From a sermon published under the title ""Why Jesus Called A Wise Man A Fool" and in two books of King's sermons as "A Knock at Midnight" -- in Strength to Love, 1963, and later in a book with the title, A Knock at Midnight. The sermon appears on page 51 and 61 respectively. The reference of the final words is King's text, Luke 11:5-6. An annotated version of King's notes was compiled for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, as well as a brief description of its writing and the first time King preached it for the Youth Sunday Services of a Baptist convention in Sept., 1958. It also includes footnotes on many of King's references. Here's the link:
King used all or parts of it in other settings and later expanded it for publication in his book of sermons, Strength to Love as noted above.) Audio excerpts are available at:
From the LPF website:
- Martin Luther King quotes reflecting some of the breadth of Dr. King's thought.
- Vision and Challenge of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Useful as a bulletin insert.
- More resources and videos about Martin Luther King and nonviolence
Now Online: Martin Luther King's Works -- talks, sermons, letters (including early drafts & mark-ups) etc. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change has opened an online digital archive of Dr. King's works. http://www.mlkonline.net/
Two great articles:
Occupy: Resurrecting Rev. King's Final Dream
by Leo W. Gerard
International President, United Steelworkers
How to Learn Nonviolent Resistance as King Did
by Mary Elizabeth King
also distributed by Common Dreams