Reflecting on MLK Day

January 13, 2023 • Rev. Rob Fuquay

It’s easy to believe that giants of faith never suffered doubt or at least the extreme uncertainty that average people experience. But it’s often surprising and somewhat comforting to know, not only the heavy doubts of faith champions but also how they persisted in their quest for truth and change in spite of doubt. One such example is seen in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The year was 1967. Some, especially many white, prominent Christian leaders were starting to question if the Civil Rights movement and the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was really succeeding. The Space Race, Vietnam, and other national news events were getting priority coverage. With attention waning, some, and perhaps King himself, wondered if they should continue.  

The singer, Joan Baez, had been marching with a group promoting educational equality in a small town in Mississippi. King arrived to encourage a rally of supporters that evening. The next morning Andrew Young summoned Baez to a minister’s home where King was staying. King was so despondent he couldn’t get out of bed. His key leaders did all they could to roust him but to no avail.  

Baez arrived and was ushered to his bedside. She knelt down and started singing “A Pilgrim’s Sorrow.” Eventually King smiled faintly and then rose and continued his work. We see in this story how doubt can affect even the greatest people of faith. We also see how much we need support when our doubts rise up. We need people who encourage us, don’t condemn us for our doubts, believe in us, and rather than preaching to us offer their presence and gifts. Perhaps you can be such a person for someone you know is struggling. 

You can see the words below to this song. You can do a google search and hear it as well. The song has a very haunting, somber melody that fits the mood of deep doubt. Maybe you will want to cut and paste the words to read the next time you face your own moments of questioning.  

As we will consider Sunday, there are times when the Church becomes the catalyst for our doubts and criticisms, but the Church can also become the very help we need to keep living the life of faith.  

See you Sunday, 


Pilgrim of Sorrow 

I am a poor pilgrim of sorrow

Cast out in this wide world to roam

My brothers and sisters won't own me

They say that I'm weak and I'm poor

But Jesus father the almighty

Has bade me to enter the door


Sometimes I'm almost driven

'Til I know not where to roam

I've heard of a city called Heaven

I've started to make it my home

When friends and relations forsake me

And troubles grow 'round me so high

I think of the kind words of Jesus

Poor pilgrim I always am nigh


Oh soon I shall reach the bright glory

Where mortals no more do complain

The ship that will take me is coming

The captain is calling my name


I've heard of a city called heaven

I've started to make it my home

Rev. Rob Fuquay