The Second Christian Church in Vandalia honored work towards racial equality and freedom during its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration held Sunday, January 13.
Lillian Johnson, M.C. for the event, opened the celebration before the Faith Tabernacle Choir performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Dolly Leo Salmon then led prayer followed by Ronnie Greene’s reading of Psalm 23.
Inez McPike welcomed the congregation, which included visitors from area churches. Those visitors returned welcome in response.
The Faith Tabernacle Church sang two selections before the offering was taken by Roger Chatman and William Wheeler. Johnson performed a special selection.
The Second Christian Church’s new pastor, Melvin McCaleb, then introduced the guest speaker for the evening, the Rev. Horace Walters, of Louisiana’s New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church.
“I have a pretty easy task this afternoon and that is the introduction of the speaker,” Pastor McCaleb said.
The Rev. Walters began by calling up the New Jerusalem Tabernacle Choir to perform, after which he started his message.
The Rev. Walters started by reciting chapter 2 verses 17 and 18 of Nehemiah and related the passage to the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“You see, Dr. King, he was trying to build up something,” he said, relating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream of a relationship of equality to Nehemiah’s vision of building up the walls of Jerusalem. “(King) saw that there was a waste of so many years that we hadn’t come together as God’s people. I really admire what he was trying too do. We might say that he died to young, but God knew what he wanted him to do, and how long he wanted him to do it.”
Jesus came to this world and only preached God’s word with his disciples for three years, the Rev. Walters continued.
“The Lord knows how long he wants us to administer his message,” he said.
The Rev. Walters urged the congregation to share their visions, as Nehemiah and Dr. King had done, to get others on board to make the vision become a reality.
“If every Christian person can get busy about building up a relationship, not just here in Vandalia, but all over the world, what a difference we could make — what a change we could make in someone’s life if we could build a relationship,” he said. “Step on board and tell somebody. Often God uses one person to express vision and others to turn it into reality.”
The Rev. Walters said when you encourage others, you put team work into action.
He then moved to the history of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. including the upstart of non-violent protest in Birmingham, Ala., and the famous march on Washington D.C.
“God gave Dr. Martin Luther King boldness,” he said.
“No one can dress us for war — no one can dress us like God can,” Walters said, relating Dr. King’s work to the battle of David and Goliath.
“Free at last, free at last, thank God we are free at last,” he closed, reciting Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “Thank the Lord, Dr. King, that we are free.”