*Alternate* First Reading – Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech excerpt

I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day “every valley shall be exalted,
every hill and mountain shall be made low,
and the rough places will be made plains,
and the crooked places will be made straight,
and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope.
This is the faith that I go back to the South with.
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 our nation
into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together,
to struggle together, to stand up for freedom together,
knowing that we will be free one day…

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring,
when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet,
from every state and every city,
we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children,
black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,
will be able to join hands and sing the words of that old Negro spiritual,
“Free at last!  Free at last!  Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”

The words of Martin Luther King, Jr.