Speakers at Mansfield’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration called for the civil rights activist to be remembered with more than speeches, but also with action, service and faith.
"I believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had more than just a talk with Jesus," said Gus Reyes, director of the Christian Life Commission for Texas Baptists. " I believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had more than just a walk with Jesus."
The keynote speaker at the 10th annual event listed the characteristics of a faith walk, and called on the approximately 200 audience members at Bethlehem Baptist Church to follow Jesus and King.
Reyes cited the passage in the Book of Matthew that tells of Jesus walking on water, while his disciples are in the boat watching. Peter calls out to Jesus, who encourages him to walk out on the water to him. Peter does until he notices the water is churning and starts to sink. Jesus reaches out to save him.
The walk of faith is contained within that scripture, Reyes said.
Recognize who Jesus is and desire to go where he is, he said.
"Get out of the boat," Reyes said, "like so many people got up and walked from Selma. Dr. King’s march affected the whole country, not just a few."
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and count on him to save you, he concluded.
Sam Houston High School senior Matthew Burch, who took first place in the Arlington MLK 2015 Essay Contest, called on the audience to remember King with service to others.
Bethlehem Baptist Pastor Michael Evans noted the progress in civil rights, and said that there is still a ways to go.
"We’ve come a long way in our city," Evans said. "My hope is that every person should have constitutional rights. Justice for all, not just justice for y’all.
"My hope is that one day my children’s children will make the dream a reality, not just for people like me, but for all people."
The ceremony also featured an all-female choir, composed of members from Walnut Ridge Baptist, Cornerstone, Community Missionary Baptist and Bethlehem Baptist, plus Praise Dancers from Bethlehem Baptist.
Evans also recognized Victoria Dodd, who has organized the event for the past 10 years.
Mayor David Cook was on hand to officially proclaim Jan. 18 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Mansfield, in honor of the event.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451