The first reading for this day ( 1 SAM 3:1-10) is perfect for this birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The significant line in that reading rings out with King’s life purpose: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening!” And so he was until his death on April 4, 1968, when he was assassinated as he prepared for what was to be a Poor People’s March to Washington in another of his non-violent events that characterized his life mission.

In the final months before his death, it seemed that his work had taken a toll on him. “I’m tired of going to jail,” he admitted. “Living every day under the threat of death, I feel discouraged now and then and feel my work is in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.” In like manner, on the night before his death, he told a crowd at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis,: “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”

May it be so for all of us as it surely was for him.