The event was held at the historic Horizon Sanctuary of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. In attendance were local and national policy makers, educators, civil and human rights activists and community and faith leaders. The service was televised on C-Span.
Rev. Suarez represented NHCLC and its president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who said, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. represented a cry for justice that was not only for his own generation but for generations to come, not only for African Americans, but also for Latinos, Asians and minorities of every faith and background. His prophetic message reminds us that justice does not come from the Right or the Left but from on high to lift up those who are low. America is on the cusp of a justice revival that cannot be stopped. On this day that would have been Dr. King’s 91st birthday, let us remember his dream and let us continue to march to see it fully come true.”
Below is a copy of the benediction Rev. Suarez delivered at the commemorative service:
Father, we have gathered before you in prayer because we know what you’re capable of. While some trust in chariots and others in horses we remember the name of our Lord because we know in whom we have believed.
We know that your YES was greater than pharaoh’s NO.
Your plan of salvation was greater than Herod’s plan of annihilation.
When you, oh God, decree something, your word does not and cannot return void.
The Red Sea couldn’t stop it,
The walls of Jericho weren’t strong enough,
Goliath wasn’t tall enough,
Ahab and Jezebel weren’t wicked enough,
Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t build an idol big enough,
And though they’ve tried, the gates of hell have not prevailed against the church!
For it is written, 1 Peter 1:25, The Word of the Lord endureth forever!
You’ve chosen to deliver your divine word to the earth through the conduit of human clay.
You’ve raised up men and women to be your mouthpiece at varying times in history, and have called them prophets, one of those being the man we honor today.
More than simply a man, a reverend or doctor … he was a prophet.
He was the prophet of reconciliation and justice.
His words were coated in divinity.
His dreams surpassed human logic.
We stand here today because that prophet boldly declared the words and visions of the Lord.
Prophet King was taken from this earth but his words and vision remain because they were your words and visions.
We, the ones you’ve called to be stewards of our communities, we are perplexed with a sense of urgency.
For we see the great divide that exists in our day.
We hear the cries of the younger generation as they face uncertain tomorrows.
Our communities ask us WHEN?
When will it change?
When will humanity not be valued based on socioeconomics?
When will humanity be cherished for its heart and not its color?
When will shalom reign and violence come to an end?
In the mighty name of Jesus I say, NOW LORD.
NOW … in our lifetime
NOW … before more innocent blood is shed.
Do it NOW.
You gave your servant the great prophet Elijah the authority to dictate weather patterns. It stopped raining when he said so, and the rain returned when he said so.
Under that same authority, since the God of Elijah was the God of MLK and is our God today, upon the authority of His word, we speak to the earth, its inhabitants and the air …
We declare that peace reigns NOW.
Unity returns NOW.
Love for one another abounds NOW.
A revival of reconciliation returns NOW.
And as Pastor Sam Rodriguez declared to us:
“A justice revival is coming to America NOW and it cannot be stopped! Because justice does not come from the right or the left, it comes from the high to lift up the low.”
As we lift our eyes to the hills from whence cometh our help, we give you praise and glory because we see the King of Glory:
The King strong and mighty
The King who is mighty to save
The king Mighty to deliver
The king Mighty to heal
The king whose name is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and they are saved!
We declare salvation is coming.
Joy is coming.
Justice is coming.
Healing is coming.
Because the King is coming NOW!
In Jesus name!