Invocation for Martin Luther King, Jr., Vigil at Orlando City Hall on February 12, 2020
By Rev. Josh Bell
An invocation is often a prayer. However, we are not gathered here in this space in this moment representing any particular religion. Many of us are affiliated with a religion, and an increasing number are not. Invocation can simply mean “to call upon.” For this evening’s invocation, we are going to call upon, or invoke, some legacies. If you would like to, feel free to open your hands like this.
We invoke the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which brings us together tonight. We invoke his courage, his voice, his persistence, and his sacrifice.
Dr. King was the drum major of the movement, but the movement was so much bigger than him.
We invoke the legacy of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, and Ella Baker – the women who moved the movement forward, and Mrs. King who carried the movement and Dr. King’s legacy.
We invoke the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, who taught Dr. King nonviolence, and all the other persons of various faith traditions who moved the movement forward.
We invoke the legacy of Dr. Pauli Murray and Bayard Rustin, and all the LGBTQ persons who moved the movement forward.
We invoke the legacy of Rev. James Reed, a white pastor beaten to death in Selma, and all the allies who could have stayed safe and silent but did not.
We invoke the legacy and example of those civil rights leaders still with us today, like Representative John Lewis, and we give thanks for their courage.
These legacies are now in our hands. These dreams are now on our shoulders. If you would receive these legacies, if you would continue to move the movement forward, if you would continue the constant work of building the Beloved Community, then please say, “YES.”
Rev. Josh Bell is a member of the Orlando Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission; Interfaith Coordinator of the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College; Director of Community Development at The Community Hope Center; and serves on the Executive Committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.