National Cathedral Honors Dr. King: Love Triumphs Over Hatred

The National Cathedral celebrated Martin Luther King Day in a celebration entitled “Awake and in Motion.” This year’s Observance at the Cathedral honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, was all the more relevant in the midst of the great political and social turmoil that has created great distress in our country’s national psyche.

Almost 50 years ago, on March 31,1968, Rev. Martin Luther King gave his last sermon, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” at the National Cathedral in DC, days before his assassination. The words of Dr. King’s last sermon come as a warning in today’s climate of racial animus, “And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.” The service was indeed a call to action today, to stand up for the rights of all of God’s children.

The Rev. Randolph Hollerith, Dean of the Cathedral hoped for a world where “All people share the wealth of the earth, where poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated, racism in all forms of discrimination, bigotry are replaced by inclusive sisterhood and brotherhood, where faith overcomes fear, where love triumphs over hatred.”

In song, theatre and dance, the legacy of Dr. King came alive. The MLK Celebration Choir under the masterful direction of Michele Fowlin presented a series of choral works that electrified the audience. Joined by the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir and the Cathedral Band, Ms. Fowlin conducted the musical groups in beautiful renditions of such pieces as “Total Praise” by Robert Smallwood and “If I Can Help Somebody” by A. Bazel Androzzo. The voices of the young singers of the Washington Performing Arts’ Children of the Gospel Choir filled the cathedral in the well known song, “The Impossible Dream.”

The powerful presentation by Truthworker Theater Company from Brooklyn, NY, presented by the Advancement Project depicted the school-to-prison pipeline impact upon young people, resulting in the unjust incarceration of too many African Americans. The strong voices of the young performers resounded with the audience.

Dancer Jennifer Harge’s unique performance of “Mourn and Never Die” kept the audience spellbound as she breathlessly jogged in place reciting the hundreds of names of the victims of police brutality.

With the blessing of Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington DC, the service concluded with the singing of the beautiful Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson and “We’re Marching to Zion,” by Robert Lowry.

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