The auditorium at the U.S. Department of Energy was subdued, still, and suitable for this annual commemoration honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was escorted to the first row and seated in front of the stage. To the right of the podium, a picture of the Rev. Dr. King decorated the backdrop with a banner that read, “In celebration of the dream he had for all of us.”
An African-American woman wearing a necklace strung with large white pearly baubles sat next to me. She had been asked to sing the national anthem for the first time. Her smile matched her magnificent necklace.
“I just started working here after being out of work for a year-and-a-half,” she volunteered. She turned her eyes towards me as she proudly announced, “God is awesome!” She continued, “I had to give up my apartment and move in with a roommate. After pursuing jobs everywhere, I finally landed this job as a consultant. I now have my own apartment again. At age fifty, living with another person wasn't to my liking. Being here is my dream come true.”
I wanted to tell her that I, too, lost my job a year and a half ago, but I hesitated to disclose this personal information. Instead, I repeated the phrase, “God is awesome, indeed!” as a response to her call. We walked up to the podium together. Black and white. Singer and rabbi. The color guard marched towards us, and the national anthem began.
I hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
Isn’t that what the Rev. Dr. King was all about? The truth of God’s awesomenessin perpetual action.
The invocation prayer given on Tuesday, January 18, 2011:
In the presence of the "King" the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. we come together to remember and to restore his worthy vision to our daily sacred work here at the US Department of Energy.
The major drummer for peace and justice and equality continues to guide us towards the path of freedom through non-violence and mutual understanding.
In the presence of the legacy of the King we gather to remember our role in creating amore perfect union for all faiths for all people for all time.
We call upon the Holy One, the Majesty of Majesties, to bless the work of our hands and the dedication of our hearts every day and every time we participate in the service of the "King".