‘Remembering Martin’ speaker gives ‘mesmerizing’ speech
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 7:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 7:07 p.m.
A Jacksonville minister preached about the Lord being a shepherd, which allows people like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others to live their lives free of fear.
The Rev. H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, delivered the keynote address at the 2011 "Remembering Martin Kick-Off Program" Tuesday night at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Gainesville.
"I just want to remind you that what King and those around him did was grounded in their faith in God," Charles told the more than 150 people attending the program.
Sponsored annually by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc., the program serves as the official beginning of King Celebration activities in Gainesville and Alachua County.
The Rev. Adrian S. Taylor, pastor of Springhill Missionary Baptist Church, presided over the service and the King Celebration Community Choir performed several songs, including "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," "You are the Source of My Strength," "I Love the Lord" and "I Just Want to be Right."
Dr. Willie E. Caison Sr., pastor of New Macedonia Baptist Church, offered the invocation. Diyonne McGraw, the King Commission vice president, gave the welcome and occasion and greetings were given by Alachua County Commission Chairman Lee Pinkoson and Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe.
The service also included a candlelighting tribute to King by members of the Nu Eta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., which King was a member.
"We light these candles in remembrance of our dear brother," said Watson W. Louidor, president of the chapter.
Charles was introduced by the Rev. Kevin Thorpe of Faith Missionary Baptist Church. The title of his sermon was "Living With Confidence in God."
Charles began by saying he "just wanted to brag on God" for a while.
He preached from Psalm 23, examining it verse by verse to illustrate the power of God. He said a reputable Bible scholar once said that if everybody said the Psalm 23 "seven times before they went to bed at night, there would be less mental breakdowns in the world."
Charles said Psalm 23 is not a psalm that everybody can sing, because in order to sing it, "You must have a personal relationship with God."
He said it is not known what David was going through or his emotional state of mind when he wrote the psalm, but he said it is evident that whatever situation David was in, he believed he was going to prevail because the Lord is his shepherd.
"Is he your shepherd?" Charles asked. "Can you say for yourself, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd.' If that is not your testimony tonight, you ought to repent your sins and run to the cross."
Charles ended his sermon by saying God protects his people from their enemies, anoints their heads with oil and fills their cups with an overflow of goodness and mercy.
"You need the goodness when you are walking to keep you walking straight and you need the mercy for when you fall," he said.
Rodney Long, founder and president of the King Commission, gave the closing remarks. He said the social climate in America in 2011 resembles that of nearly 50 years ago. He also asked if people today are committed to the principles of nonviolent social change as King and countless others were.
He also praised Charles for delivering a "mesmerizing" sermon.
"I've never heard the 23rd Psalm preached the way I heard it preached tonight," Long said.