In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the U.S. on January 19, we are posting an excerpt of the inspiring sermon he gave during a brief pass into East Berlin while visiting West Berlin fifty years ago.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (left) and Ralph Abernathy (right) at the Berlin Wall on September 13, 1964. King had been invited to the German capital by Berlin mayor Willy Brandt. King also visited East Berlin during this trip. (Details below.) PHOTO: Landesarchiv Berlin

Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy at the Berlin Wall, Bernauer Straße and Schwedter Straße PHOTO: Landesarchiv Berlin

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
East Berlin, Marienkirche
September 13, 1964

“We have found ourselves literally ‘thrown to the lions’ in the arena of life. No longer is there any question of what St. Paul meant by principalities and powers. We are just beginning to learn the rules of this new order. We are often abused, but we are learning to work together to fulfill our dreams through the political structures of our society.

‘God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray.’      (Hymn lyrics by “Lift Every Voice” by James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson.)

This is our prayer. For it is only by the might and power of God that we have been able to proceed. We have been as a ‘valley of dry bones,’ and the spirit of the lord breathed into us the strength and breath of life, and the dry bones of my people put on flesh and courage and faith and began marching on to freedom land.

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks in East and West Berlin

A plaque commemorates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon in Berlin

This is a faith which has kept us going. This is a faith which has enabled us to face death. This is a faith which has given us a way when there seemed to be no way. This is a faith that let us face our daily crucifixions, in the knowledge that God’s world is changed through resurrection, and there can be no resurrection without crucifixion. This is the faith I commend to you Christians here in Berlin. A living, active, massive faith that affirms the victory of Jesus Christ over the world, whether it be an Eastern world or a Western world.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of the nations into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to suffer together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

With this faith, we will speed up the day when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.”

Full sermon transcript

Remembering MLK’s visit to Berlin

About the Author

The Charrette Communications Team works collaboratively to provide relevant, insightful content on the six Charrette values that guide urban ministry in Berlin.
Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Berlin
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