Pastor Martel Winburn Sr. addresses a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Sunday evening at First Assembly of God church in Richmond. Photo by Bob Hansen

Pastor says Martin Luther King Jr. shared spirit of a disciple

The Christian Bible’s story of the apostles Philip and Nathaneal is a lesson about overcoming prejudice born of ignorance, according to the speaker at a Sunday service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In his remarks, the Rev. Martel Winburn Sr. said Dr. King had been filled with the holy spirit, just like Philip, and sharing that is how each of them overcame prejudice in others. Pastor Winburn spoke to more than 50 people at a service organized by Churches United for Christ, “Celebrating the Legacy of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Found in John 1:44-45, the story is that Philip, already a disciple, goes to his friend Nathaneal and tells him about Jesus. When he says that Jesus is from Nazareth, Nathaneal says, “Nazareth! How can anything good come from there?”

Nathaneal showed prejudice brought about by his ignorance, Winburn said. He sees it today as people reject or hate people whom they have never met because of where they are from, their skin color and other differences.

Philip had already been overcome by the spirit of the Lord and wanted to share Jesus’s message with all of his friends, Winburn said. He was able to bring Nathaneal to meet Jesus, overcoming the man’s initial prejudice. After meeting Jesus, Nathaneal became his disciple, also called Bartholomew.

“That same spirit of God moved on one of his anointed creatures, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Winburn said. “The spirit of God moved on him, giving him the hunger to tell others about the spirit of God, moved on him to fight against racism, for peace, against the Jim Crow laws that separated neighbors. … The spirit of God moved on Martin Luther King to preach against all of that.”

Winburn asked those attending to turn to their neighbors, link hands “and walk together in the spirit of Jesus.”

In a benedictory prayer, Pastor Rick White said that’s the “only hope for our nation.”

Host Pastor Carlos King, of First Assembly of God church, said the evening’s organizers represent a diverse group of Richmond churches, formerly known as Community In Unity.

The event was one of several local observances of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday.

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Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.